Skip to main content

Full text of "Genealogical research, methods and sources"

See other formats




V. 1 
cop. 2 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 

The late 

President Emeritus of the American Society of Genealogists 





Associate Editor 

Committee on Publication 




Washington, D. C 

Copyright ©1960 


The American Society of Genealogists 

Reprinted for the Society by 


Drawer 51359 

New Orleans, Louisiana 70151 

Second printing 1961 

Third printing 1966 

Fourth printing 1969 

Fifth printing 1972 

Sixth printing 1973 

Seventh printing 1975 

Eight printing 1977 

This volume may be ordered from 

Mrs. Donna R. Hotaling, Agent 

2255 Cedar Lane 

Vienna, Va. 22180 

$7.50, payable to 

The American Society of Genealogists 


Soon after the founding of the American Society of Geneal- 
ogists its Fellows agreed to embark on the project of pro- 
ducing and presenting to the genealogical public a handbook 
to be written as a joint effort by a group of experts in their 
respective fields. Mr. Rubincam was appointed editor and, 
little knowing the trials which lay before him, he accepted 
the task. 

If there be any one among our readers who has struggled 
to whip a stable of some thirty volunteer and sometimes 
temperamental authors into getting on with their work and 
observing a deadline, he will bestow on Mr. Rubincam the 
deep sympathy which he so justly deserves. It is the sad 
fact that deadline succeeded deadline as the recalcitrant failed 
to produce. Our satisfaction is, therefore, the greater that 
the handbook is finally a reality. 

The majority of the chapters herein are the work of Fel- 
lows of the Society. In some cases, however, it was found 
that we had no available expert in a specialized field and, in 
such cases, others of high authority have been drafted. For 
their cooperation the editor and the Society are most grateful. 

We sincerely regret that four of our Fellows who have 
contributed chapters to the book, Mrs. Hiden, Sir Francis 
Grant, Mr. Ewen and Mr. Hoffman, have died during the 
progress of the work and will not see the product in which 
they were keenly interested. 

It is our collective hope that the book may prove of interest 
to the experienced genealogist and that it will eruide the 
tyro into the methods which his predecessors have investi- 
gated and found sound. 

Walter G. Davis 



Foreword iii 

Walter Goodwin Davis, President, 
American Society of Genealogists. 

Introduction 1 

Arthur Adams, President Emeritus, 
American Society of Genealogists. 

Part 1 

I. Adventures in Genealogy. Milton Rubincam 5 

II. Tradition and Family History 14 

Donald Lines Jacobus. 

III. Interpreting Genealogical Records 19 

Donald Lines Jacobus. 

IV. Genealogy and Chronology 28 

Donald Lines Jacobus. 

V. The Rules of Evidence: A Standard for 

Proving Pedigrees. Noel C. Stevenson 37 

VI. Preparing Genealogical Manuscripts for 

Publication. Donald Lines Jacobus 49 

Part 2 

Original Sources. 

A. Family Records. Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr. 55 

Family Bibles and Family Vital Records. 


Memoirs and Diaries. 

Unrecorded Deeds and Wills. 

Diplomas, Certificates, and Testimonials. 



B. Public Records. 

The Census. Edward H. West 64 

Federal Pensions. Edward H. West 66 

Military Records. Edward H. West 68 

Naval Records. Edward H. West 70 

Marine Corps Records. Edward H. West 71 

Coast Guard Records. Edward H. West 72 

Registration of American 

Citizens Abroad. Meredith B. Colket, Jr. 72 

Passport Applications. Meredith B. Colket, Jr. 73 

Passenger Lists. Meredith B. Colket, Jr. 74 

Original "Grants". Meredith B. Colket, Jr. ___ 78 

Records of Entry. Meredith B. Colket, Jr. 78 

Local Records. Meredith B. Colket, Jr. 79 

Probate Records. Milton Rubincam 81 

C. Institutional Records. Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr. 83 
Church Records. 

Cemetery Records and Inscriptions. 

Educational Institutions. 

Societies and Fraternal Organizations. 

II. Secondary Materials. Milton Rubincam 91 

A. Manuscripts. 

B. Printed Materials. 
Family Histories. 
Collected Genealogies. 
Source Materials. 
Local Histories. 

Other Printed Materials. 

Part 3 

I. New England. 

A. Maine and New Hampshire. Walter G. Davis 99 

B. Vermont. Jean Stephenson 105 

C. Massachusetts. Winifred hovering Holman __ 113 

D. Connecticut. Donald Lines Jacobus 124 

E. Rhode Island. Edward H. West 134 



II. New York. 

A. New York City. Milton Rubincam 139 

B. Upstate New York. Mary J. Sibley 145 

C. Long Island. Herbert F. Seversmith 172 

III. New Jersey. Milton Rubincam 182 

IV. Pennsylvania. Milton Rubincam 189 

V. Delaware. Leon deValinger, Jr. 198 

VI. Maryland. John Frederick Dorman 203 

VII. Virginia. Martha W. Hiden 212 

VIII. North and South Carolina. Jean Stephenson 221 

IX. Georgia. Mary G. Bryan 235 

X. The Westward Expansion. David C. Duniway 246 

XL Canada. 

A. Bibliography. Milton Rubincam 261 

B. Quebec. Gerard Malchelosse 265 

C. Ontario. James J. Talman 277 

D. Nova Scotia and 

New Brunswick. Edward H. West 283 

Part 4 

I. Feudal Genealogy. G. Andrews Moriarty 291 

II. Royal and Noble Genealogy. 

John Insley Coddington 299 

III. England and Wales. Anthony R. Wagner 320 

IV. Scotland. Sir Francis J. Grant 335 

V. Ireland. Margaret D. F alley 344 

VI. Germany. Milton Rubincam 375 

VII. The Netherlands. William J. Hoffman 382 

VIII. France. Milton Rubincam 391 

IX. Switzerland. Milton Rubincam 396 

X. Scandinavia. Amandus Johnson and 

Milton Rubincam 402 


Part 5 


I. Heraldry. Harold Boivditch 411 

II. Genealogy and the Law: 

Court Reports. Noel C. Stevenson 428 

III. A Study of Surnames. 

A. British Surnames. C. U Estrange Ewen 436 

B. European Surnames. Milton Rubincam 445 

The Authors 451 

The American Society of Genealogists: 

Roll of Fellows. 455 


This book had its origin and inspiration in the needs of 
a group of genealogists, amateur and professional, making 
up the membership of the American Society of Genealogists. 

All felt the need of recapturing and passing on the spell 
cast on them by that classic of genealogical literature, Donald 
Lines Jacobus' Genealogy as Pastime and Profession, and by 
his articles in the early volumes of The American Genealogist. 

Each one had felt the need for a general introduction to 
fields of genealogy in which his own experience had been 
limited, but in which he was interested, for one reason or 
another, and of which he wanted to know more before he 
began work in that field and made use of highly specialized 
handbooks devoted to the particular field of interest. 

This special interest might be merely another American 
State in which he had not worked. For, in spite of the fact 
that records related to the descent of real estate form the 
backbone of all genealogy, these records take different forms 
in different countries and in different periods. 

For example, a person might be a competent genealogist 
in Massachusetts or Connecticut, and yet feel almost lost 
when confronted with a call to write the history of a family 
in New York, Pennsylvania or Virginia. A little guidance 
as to the nature and extent and places of deposit of different 
kinds of records in these states might be invaluable and save 
him much time and expense in needless travel and cor- 

He might assume, not unnaturally, that he would find 
public records, vital records in Pennsylvania, for example, 
and might be hard put to it to proceed with his task without 
them, when he learned that they do not exist, at least for 
periods back of the last half-century or less. 

He might have a German or a Swiss or even an English 
problem and so come to feel the need of knowing about 


records and depositories in those countries. He would proba- 
bly be surprised that nothing like our registries of deeds 
exists, even in England, or wonder what records could be 
used to supply their lack. 

Or, he might have a problem involving a Magna Charta 
or a royal descent, and so come to feel the need of some 
knowledge of medieval genealogy or royal descents. 

The purpose of this book is to give inspiration and a 
justification for genealogical study — if any justification be 
needed — and to answer these questions, or at least to put 
one in the way to finding further and more nearly adequate 

The reading of the President's "Foreword" and a study 
of the table of contents, will indicate how the Editor has 
gone about his task. 

The book is not the work of any one person. The answers 
to the questions are the work of a group, informed by one 
spirit and purpose. 

We believe that this book differs sufficiently from any 
other existing "handbook", "manual", or "textbook", to 
justify its existence abundantly. 

It is the hope of the Editor and of the contributors that 
the book will meet the "felt need", which gave the suggestions 
for its preparation and publication. 

If it does, then they will feel amply rewarded, and the 
American Society of Genealogists will feel that it has made 
a contribution to the science and art of genealogy, which it 
exists to serve. 

Arthur Adams 

Part 1 




The desire to know about one's family is as old as recorded 
history. The Bible, the most sacred volume in Christendom, 
is replete with descents of individuals and nations. The 
opening paragraphs of the autobiography of Flavius Jose- 
phus, the Jewish historian, is an account of his descent from 
a family belonging to the sacerdotal order. The monuments 
that have withstood the storms and ravages of fifty cen- 
turies in the Valley of the Nile reveal that the upper-class 
families of Ancient Egypt took pride in their lineages. In- 
deed, the world's first critical genealogist was an Egyptian 
nobleman, Prince Khnumhotep II who, with dignity and 
simplicity, recorded on the walls of his tomb at Beni Hassan : 
"I have kept alive the names of my fathers, which I found 
obliterated upon the doorways [making them] legible in form, 
accurate in reading, not putting one in the place of another." 
In the second century of our era the Roman writer, Suetonius, 
commenced several of his biographies of the Caesars with a 
critical account of their families, often tracing them to the 
very dawn of Roman history. 

All of the Oriental nations pay particular attention to 
their ancestral origins. The Chinese have perfected a system 
of genealogy to a greater degree than any other people. 
Their family histories are used as references for compiling 
dynastic histories, local histories, and literary works. Con- 
siderable care is exercised by the family associations to 
preserve their records and many of their genealogies are re- 
vised and brought up-to-date every fifty years. Clan and 
family doctrines regulating the deportment of the members 
of the family are printed in much detail. The Chinese do not 
regard themselves as ancestor-worshippers. Their venera- 

* Originally published, in longer form, as "The Lure and Value of 
Genealogy", The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, XVII, June 1949, 
33-44. (See that article for complete footnote documentation of the 
statements made herein.) 


tion of their forebears is an attempt to emulate their more 
honorable ancestors and to avoid the ignominious conduct of 
their less worthy progenitors. In other words, they use 
family records to perpetuate the best phases of their charac- 
ter, civilization, and culture. 

In Europe and the British Isles the study of genealogy 
was not cultivated to any considerable extent until the 16th 
century. During the Middle Ages few private families pos- 
sessed such things as ancestral lists. The famous case of 
Scrope vs. Grosvenor in 1385 was fought in the King's courts 
without any pedigree being exhibited to support the claims 
of the contestants. In the Tudor and Stuart periods of Eng- 
lish history many of the proud old noble houses which had 
swayed the destinies of the Nation since the Norman Con- 
quest began to be supplanted by the nouveaux riches; the 
families then rising to power began to make fantastic claims, 
many of them daring even to attach themselves to the First 
Family in the Garden of Eden. Other families, more modest, 
were content to trace their origins only to pagan deities or 
early Christian saints. 

On the Continent the trade of pedigree-making flourished 
to an alarming degree. Especially was this true in France 
and Italy, where well-to-do patrons were provided with 
desirable ancestors — at a suitable price, of course. As 
examples, the houses of Levis-Mirepoix deduced its origin 
from the priestly tribe of Levi, Cesarini claimed descent 
from the omnipotent Caesars, and Massimo heralded far and 
and wide its mythical progenitors, the family of Fabius 
Maximus. But it goes without saying that the proudest 
claim of all was made by the noble and puissant House of 
Esterhazy of Hungary. No family, not even here in America 
where we often jump blindly into the genealogical abyss, 
aspires to the glory of the Esterhazy origins; not even in 
the Bible does a family claim an antiquity so remote, for 
we are told that its history began with : 

"Adam Esterhazy, first of the name; Adam, his son, second of the 
name; Adam, his son, third of the name; under whom God created the 


Germany was the first European nation to develop the 
scientific aspect of genealogy. In the 17th and 18th cen- 
turies such scholars as Nicolaus Rittershausen, Philipp Jakob 
Spener, Georg Christian Crollius, and others made far-reach- 
ing contributions to our knowledge of European family his- 

Real progress has been made possible only within the last 
century. In England such hard-hitting savants as J. Horace 
Round, Oswald Barron, G. E. Cokayne, and Walter Rye 
have demonstrated the fallacy of fabricating pedigrees and 
the necessity for adhering strictly to documentary evidence 
in reconstructing family history. Round, indeed, was the 
founder of the modern school of genealogy. One of his biog- 
raphers wrote that "his insistence on the importance of 
family history gave a new value to genealogical studies, and 
it is probable that no other scholar has made so many or 
such valuable contributions to his subject." One of the 
neatest examples of genealogical dissections is Round's ex- 
posure of the Habsburg origin claimed by the Feildings, Earls 
of Denbigh and Desmond. In all of his writings he pulled 
no punches; his humor was biting — and effective. 

We Americans, following in the footsteps of our British 
cousins, have not been backward in claiming fabulous origins. 
The Rittenhouses of Pennsylvania fondly believe themselves 
to be sprung from the House of Habsburg. The Springers 
of Delaware boast of their descent, in the lineal male line ( !), 
from Charlemagne. The Howards of Lower Norfolk County, 
Virginia, claim the House of Arundell of Wardour as their 
stem — and what does it matter if the alleged ancestor of 
the American family died in England seventeen years be- 
fore he set foot in America? These claims die hard, in 
spite of the fact that they have all been repeatedly exposed 
by competent genealogists. 

Serious genealogical investigation has made as great 
progress in the United States during the present century as 
in England. Under the leadership of Donald Lines Jacobus, 
Editor-in-Chief of The American Genealogist, of New Haven, 
Conn., Dr. Arthur Adams, President of the American Society 


of Genealogists and Editor of the New England Historical 
and Genealogical Register, and others, a school of research 
has grown up in this country which sheds all claim to pre- 
tense. It is as hard-hitting as the school founded by Round 
and Barron; it exposes unequivocally the false and ridicu- 
lous allegations that continue to find their way into print; 
on the ruins of the pedigrees thus demolished, it endeavors 
to reconstruct accurately lines of descent that sometimes 
extend well beyond the earliest period of American coloniza- 
tion. In the last century we had a few good genealogists, 
including Col. Joseph L. Chester, who spent many years in 
England tracing the pre-American connections of New Eng- 
land families; Henry F. Waters, whose Genealogical Glean- 
ings are basic sources for the English origins of American 
families; and Gilbert Cope, of Pennsylvania, whose activities 
covered also the early part of the present century. Today, we 
have many specialists, such as G. Andrews Moriarty, the 
foremost American authority on English feudal genealogy; 
the late William J. Hoffman, a native of Rotterdam who made 
the settlements and settlers of New Netherland his own par- 
ticular field of investigation ; Dr. Albert H. Gerberich, whose 
knowledge of Pennsylvania German genealogy is probably 
unexcelled ; Margaret F. Falley, who has taught us more about 
Irish genealogical sources than we ever knew existed ; and the 
regional authorities, Walter Goodwin Davis, co-editor of the 
Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire; 
Charles Carroll Gardner and the late Russell Bruce Rankin, 
editors of the Genealogical Magazine of Neiv Jersey; Her- 
bert F. Seversmith, whose knowledge of Long Island geneal- 
ogy is second to none; Rosalie Fellows Bailey, author of a 
Guide to New York City sources which will long be the 
standard work on the subject; and many others. 

The most exciting genealogical discoveries are made ac- 
cidentally. Years ago, while reading an English translation 
of Gustav Freytag's Pictures of German Life in the XVth, 
XVIth and XVIIth Centuries, the author of this chapter came 
across excerpts from the autobiography of Friedrich Luca, 
a Reformed clergyman who held several important posts in 


17th century Germany. He described in entertaining fashion 
his courtship with Miss Elizabeth Mercer, a Scottish lass 
whose family had been driven to the Continent by the events 
which culminated in the first dethronement of the House of 
Stuart. Pastor Luca mentioned several members of his lady 
love's family., and among" them was a sister who, he said, 
"was married in London to a nephew of Cromwell, of the 
noble family of Cleipold". The significance of this passage 
escaped us at first, but then a sudden flash of memory made 
the whole picture clear. Mrs. Graff, in her Genealogy of the 
Claypoole Family of Philadelphia (1893), showed that James 
Claypoole, the founder of the Pennsylvania family, had mar- 
ried Helena Merces in Bremen, Germany (not in London) in 
1658. She also showed that James' brother, John Claypoole, 
M.P., had married a daughter of the Protector, Oliver Crom- 
well, which connection was incorrectly reported by Luca. 
Moreover, the Claypoole ancestry was traced to a family that 
had a grant of arms in 1583 — a circumstance which would 
cause a German writer to describe it as "noble". The name 
Cleipold obviously was a German corruption of the English 
Claypoole. Furthermore, an examination (made at the au- 
thor's request by Meredith Colket) of James Claypoole's 
personal memorandum of his marriage, preserved in the 
Claypoole papers in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 
revealed that Mrs. Graff had misread the name Mercer as 
Merces, and so printed it in her book. In an article published 
in The American Genealogist in 1942, the present writer was 
thus able to demonstrate that James Claypoole, founder of a 
distinguished Philadelphia family, married in 1658 at Bre- 
men, Germany, Helena, daughter of Balthasar Mercer, 
formerly parliamentary assessor at Edinburgh, Scotland, who 
fled to Germany in 1644 with his family, which consisted of 
his wife (born a Kennedy), several sons who are said to 
have gone later to India and the Canary Islands, and three 
daughters, of whom one was the mother of the Claypooles, 
another was Pastor Luca's wife, and the third the wife of a 
merchant named Uckermann, of Wanfried, in Hessen-Rhein- 
fels, Germany. 


The history of a family is one continuous adventure. If 
properly investigated, it is not a mere record of births, mar- 
riages, and deaths. A published genealogy that contains 
only vital statistics makes dull reading indeed. But letters, 
diaries, memoirs, court records, etc., clothe the bones with 
flesh and blood, revivify them, and make our long-dead 
ancestors distinct personalities. The Tuttle family of New 
Haven, for instance, is famous for its diverse characters, 
ranging from the insane, the moronic, and the murderous, 
to the brilliant and public-spirited members whose whole 
lives were consecrated to selfless service in the cause of hu- 
manity. The story of the Wistar-Wister family of Philadel- 
phia is that of heroic men and gracious ladies, of philan- 
thropists and scholars, of soldiers and authors, and of men 
and women who labored unceasingly for the civic betterment 
of the community. Successive generations of the Morris 
family have rendered notable service to the city, state, and 
nation, holding high political, diplomatic, military and ec- 
clesiastical offices. The contributions which the presidential 
family of Adams and the Lee family of Virginia have made 
to our national development are too well-known to need 
repetition here. Each of our states has its families, great or 
small, which in their own way have contributed to American 
progress through the centuries. It is the genealogist's job to 
ferret out the facts and to show how families have influenced 
their times and have been influenced by their times. 

One of the finest examples of the contributions which a 
genealogist can make to our knowledge of history was pro- 
vided by Meredith B. Colket, Jr. A notable fighter for free- 
dom of conscience in 17th century New England was Anne 
Hutchinson. A great reference work, The Encyclopaedia 
Britannica, states (13th edition, vol. XIV, p. 12) that she was 
born "about 1600, . . . the daughter of a clergyman named 
Francis Marbury, and according to tradition, ... a cousin 
of John Dryden." So much for the researches of biographers. 
Mr. Colket, a competent genealogist, dug into the problem. 
He proved that Mrs. Hutchinson was baptized 20 July 1591, 
some nine years prior to the estimated date of her birth. 


He confirmed the "tradition" of her kinship to the Poet 
Laureate of England by showing that she was his first cousin 
once removed, as the granddaughter of his great-grandfather. 
And what of her father, who was dismissed so casually by 
the Britannica as "a clergyman named Francis Marbury"? 
He was the author of an Elizabethan play, The Contract of 
Marriage Between Wit and Wisdom. A card cataloguer of 
the Library of Congress identified him simply as one who 
"flourished" in 1579, the year in which his play was writ- 
ten. The genealogist proved he "flourished" all over the 
place, by showing that this same Francis Marbury was bap- 
tized 27 October 1555, ordained deacon 7 January 1577-8, 
ordained priest 24 June 1605, was tried before the Bishop 
of London for his courageous protest over the existing order 
of things, enjoyed the favor of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, 
was quoted with appreciation by Sir Francis Bacon, died 
shortly before 11 February 1610-11, was twice married, and 
fathered at least 18 children! 

The genealogist can render invaluable service to the 
eugenicist. Dr. Arthur Adams, in an address before the Con- 
ference of Historical Studies, at the meeting of the American 
Historical Association in 1922, observed : "The new interest 
in heredity and the larger knowledge of its laws are being 
found of value and usefulness in ways never dreamed of 
by those who compiled them. Data not heretofore thought 
worth including in regard to physical characteristics and 
mental traits ar \ being industriously compiled and carefully 
recorded. The great regret is that so often biological data 
of the kind desired cannot be obtained. Color of hair and 
eyes, characteristic features, height and weight, etc., too 
often now cannot be ascertained ; but for present genera- 
tions and for generations within the memory of those now 
living such facts may be learned. If genealogists begin 
at once to record such data, within a relatively short time 
an adequate amount of material for the statistical and 
scientific study of heredity and eugenics will have been 
accumulated." Some years ago John I. Coddington dis- 
covered, in the possession of a member of the Woollens family 


of Lower Dublin Township, Philadelphia Co., Pa., an album 
containing daguerreotypes and photographs, opposite each of 
which were complete descriptions of the subjects, such as 
the names, birthplaces, dates of birth, descent ("English" 
in all cases), names of parents, brothers and sisters (enu- 
merated but not named), education, occupation, politics, 
religion, dates of marriage, stature, weight, habit (described 
as "average" in all cases except one, whose habit was given 
as "full"), complexion, color of hair and eyes, health and, 
in one case, date of death. These records were published in 
the National Genealogical Society Quarterly in 1942, and 
amply illustrate the methods whereby the genealogist may 
contribute to our knowledge of the personal characteristics 
of the American people. 

Dr. Amandus Johnson, the noted authority on the Swedish 
settlements in the Delaware Valley, once told the National 
Genealogical Society in a lecture: "History is based upon 
biography, and biography is based upon genealogy." As the 
family produces the man or the woman who exerts influence 
for good or evil on the course of events, so the family is a 
contributing factor to events that may be world-shaking in 
importance. Whenever a man rises to prominence in public 
life a general interest is manifested in his antecedants. A 
knowledge of his genealogical background is often neces- 
sary for an understanding of his character and actions. The 
trained genealogist has facilities at his command that are 
not always known to students in other fields of learning. 
Consequently, he is in a position to make his printed geneal- 
ogy of a given family a valuable source-book for local or 
national history. Cases in point are Dr. Robert C. Moon's 
The Morris Family of Philadelphia, published in five stately 
volumes from 1898 to 1909, and Howard Barclay French's 
Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas French (2 vols., 
1909). These works, and others like them, rise above the 
strictly genealogical, and are real contributions to an under- 
standing of our historic past. 

And lastly, a study of genealogy instills in us an apprecia- 
tion of the American way of life. The newspaper headlines 


sometimes frighten us into the belief that the end of the 
world is at hand. But so long as we remember the principles 
upon which the Republic was founded, so long as we follow 
the example of the Chinese and emulate the traits and 
characteristics of our more honorable ancestors, just so long 
will we Americans — as the heirs of a great tradition — endure 
as a free people. 



Tradition is a chronic deceiver, and those who put faith 
in it are self-deceivers. This is not to say that tradition 
is invariably false. Sometimes a modicum of fact lies almost 
hidden at its base. The probability of its falsehood increases 
in geometric ratio as the lineage claimed increases in 

Every Rogers family has a tradition of descent from 
John Rogers, the Martyr; every Adams family links itself 
traditionally with the Braintree stem which produced two 
presidents. There is nothing surprising in this. It is human 
nature to be vain, and belief in the importance of one's 
family is merely an extension of personal vanity. We all 
prefer to hide the skeleton in the closet, and to display the 
heraldic device which we would fain believe our knightly 
ancestors sanctified with their blood. 

To show how quickly and easily a tradition emerges out 
of nothing, let us invent a story. During the presidency of 
the first Adams, a humble Adams family is living in a fron- 
tier settlement. The Adams boy is asked by another whether 
he is related to the great man. The boy is intrigued; if a 
kinship can be claimed, he will be able to hold his own against 
the Sheriff's son when boasts of parental importance are 
made. So he takes the question to old "Granther" Adams, 
as the most likely to know. The aged man, his own days of 
activity over, becomes animated when thus appealed to as an 
authority on the family history. Well, now, he doesn't 
rightly know, but when he was living as a young blade back 
in New England, he once met a man named Adams in a 
tavern, and come to talk things over, they were related some- 
how, and he had heard it said as how this man he was 
talking with was connected with the Braintree Adamses. 

* Reprinted from The American Genealogist, IX, July, 1932, 1-4. 


Come to think of it, there probably was a connection way 
back. Yes, sir, he wouldn't be surprised if there was. 

The elated youngster next day, when exchanging boasts 
with the Sheriff's son, proudly announces that he is related 
to President Adams. Way back, of course, but it was the 
same family. His grandfather told him, and he guessed his 
grandfather knew what he was talking about. 

Twenty-five years later, the Adams youngster is a man 
of affairs, with boys of his own. The Adams myth, from 
constant retelling in his own boyhood, has become fixed in 
his mind as an implacable fact, true as gospel. He could not 
repeat exactly, if asked to do so, the maundering words of 
his grandfather, but he was certainly left with a distinct 
impression that a relationship existed. In all these years, 
the reality of the claim never has been disproved, probably 
not even challenged. When he pridefully tells his own boys 
about the Adams family, he believes he is telling the strict 
truth. Yes, boys, we belong to the same family as President 
Adams; I had it straight from my grandfather's own lips. 

Thus, in a quarter of a century, a strong, enduring tradi- 
tion has completed its miraculous growth. Thus do the tiny 
seeds of vanity germinate and produce the towering trees 
of an illustrious Family History. 

While our example is entirely fictitious, every experienced 
genealogist knows of erroneous and thoroughly disproved 
traditions which must have originated in some such way. 
Nor are such erroneous traditions restricted to claims of 
exalted lineage or connection. They may refer merely to 
the nationality of the immigrant ancestor, or to the original 
place of residence in this country, or to any other detail of 
the family history. 

Among families whose surnames are of French origin, or 
are similar to French names, there is likely to be the French 
Huguenot tradition. Genealogists who realize how many 
Norman-French names were carried into England with the 
Conqueror, do well to view such claims with suspicion until 
proved. Traditions of Welsh origin of early colonial families 
are seldom verified. 


In one family it was understood that an ancestor was 
French, came over with Lafayette and served under him in 
the Revolutionary War. But this ancestor's birth and death 
records were actually found in his father's family Bible, and 
the ancestry in this country went back to 1644; he did serve 
in the Revolution, and his son married a woman whose ances- 
try was originally French. There had been here some ming- 
ling of tradition from different sides of the family. 

It was supposed in another family that the first known 
male line ancestor (born in 1767) came from Martha's Vine- 
yard. Investigation revealed not a single occurrence of 
the surname in the vital records of the Vineyard prior to 
1850. The ancestry was eventually located elsewhere. But 
this ancestor married a girl who was born on Martha's Vine- 
yard. Here the tradition was correct, except that it had 
become associated with the wrong ancestral line. 

We all recognize the fallibility of tradition when the 
traditions of some other person's family are questioned. 
When our own are at stake, it is a different matter. Our 
grandmother had a marvelous memory, and we know that 
every word she told us was gospel truth. After all, she was 
our grandmother, and it is asking a great deal to suggest 
that we give up one detail of her cherished memoirs. 

The present writer had a great-uncle who took an interest 
in the family history, and my mother wrote down his ac- 
count. He started with his great-grandfather, who was one 
of three brothers who came over. Actually, he was one of 
three brothers, but they were of the fourth generation in 
America. Did my great-uncle merely assume that the first 
ancestor he knew about was the original settler, or did my 
mother misunderstand him? They both possessed good minds 
for details, yet this much of error crept into the account. 

Just why so many traditions center around three brothers 
who came over, is a problem that has never been solved. 
Brothers often did come to America, but there were instances 
of two brothers, and even of four and five, as well as of 


The dear old aunt of the writer was born a Wilmot, and 
firmly believed in the high, even titled, connections of the 
family. She had, indeed, a detailed account which on slight 
provocation she could be induced to relate. We were of the 
same blood as the notorious John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. 
Parenthetically, it should be explained that the old lady 
did not know of Rochester's reputation for profligacy, and 
the writer never enlightened her. The last descendant of 
Rochester, according to her story, had died leaving a large 
property, including an entire square in London. The nearest 
heir was a maiden lady named Wilmot who had come to this 
country from England and lived in the same city with my 
aunt's brother. She died before taking possession of the 
property. My uncle had met her and discussed the family 
history with her, and they were agreed that our branch of 
Wilmots were "next in line." 

In vain, did I protest that the Earl of Rochester's only 
son died a minor, and that the title died with him, while 
the family estates descended to the daughters who carried 
them by marriage into other familes. She merely set her 
lips in a firm line and said, "Well, I'm not lying about it; 
I guess I know what I know." 

Of course she was not lying. Just how this story originated 
can only be surmised. Quite likely the Wilmot lady from 
England was deluded by an "inheritance mania" and 
imagined much of what she told to my relatives; and it is 
not impossible that my aunt in part misunderstood or 
misinterpreted the story. 

Again, on the writer's paternal side, there was a story 
of a lost inheritance. My grandfather, early in life, joined 
an association of Anneke Jans heirs, as he understood that 
his Doremus grandmother was a descendant. The marriage 
certificate of his parents was turned over to the association's 
lawyer, and never recovered, and it was believed that the 
lawyer "sold out" to the opposing interests. This was the 
story as it came to me from my grandfather's lips. But 
so far as my own investigations have gone, I have failed 


to find a scrap of evidence to prove that my Doremus ances- 
tress descended from Anneke Jans at all. Perhaps she did, 
but it is very doubtful, and until and unless record proof is 
forthcoming, I shall not claim the line. 

It is natural for people to feel that a special sanctity 
inheres in the traditions of their own family. To doubt 
them is to doubt the veracity of their parents and grand- 
parents. The genealogist should therefore be gentle and 
tactful when his investigations run counter to the cherished 
traditions. Those who employ genealogists, on the other 
hand, should realize that their genealogist gets no pleasure 
out of destroying their traditions. He is employed to ascer- 
tain the truth, and it is his duty to report what the records 

Although few traditions prove to be true in every par- 
ticular, the genealogist should not, with a superior air, 
dismiss a tradition as unworthy of consideration. Occasion- 
ally, a traditional statement is found to be very close to the 
truth. The majority of them contain some element of truth, 
however misapplied or encircled with error. Therefore, 
traditions should be sifted and tested, and utilized as clues, 
but not accepted as true until verified from contemporary 
documentary sources. 



Before we have handled genealogical records very long, 
we discover that considerable special knowledge is required 
to enable us to interpret the records we find. It is not 
merely, if we seek out ancient public records, that there is 
a difficulty in reading the script of three centuries ago, and 
that considerable practice is required before we are able 
to read it fluently. But even if we limit ourselves to printed 
copies of ancient records, we find many terms used which 
we do not understand, and we are particularly puzzled when 
words that are entirely familiar are used in a different 
sense from that which they possess today. A few of these 
we shall explain here. 

The terms "Mr." and "Mrs." in the 17th century were 
reserved for persons of social position, and the early colonial 
settlers used these terms in the same sense to which they 
had been accustomed in England. They denoted people of 
"gentle" birth; and a "gentleman" in the English sense was 
a man who did not perform useful labor but derived his 
living from the income received from the rental of lands. 
They might be very wealthy, or they might have to scrimp to 
make both ends meet, but these people, the landed gentry, 
constituted the aristrocracy. 

If younger sons became ministers or barristers, they 
remained "gentlemen," but it did very often happen that the 
younger sons of the less wealthy families entered a trade. 
Conversely, it often happened that a tradesman of ability, 
or a merchant, acquired wealth; then, if he cared for social 
recognition, he would buy an estate from some impoverished 
gentleman, pay the heralds' fee for a coat-of-arms, and per- 
haps even buy a fabricated pedigree to prove his gentility. 
Thus, although there were families which had held an as- 

* Reprinted (with modifications) from The American Genealogist, X, 
July 1933, 2-6, XI, July 1934, 9-11, XIX, July 1942, 8-10. 


sured position for many generations, there was in fact much 
moving up and down the social scale. Social position, then 
as always in human history, depended on the possession of 
some form of material wealth. 

The colonists were very strict, at first, in limiting the 
use of the term "Mr." to those whose families belonged to 
the landed gentry, to ministers, and to those whose official 
position entitled them to it. In assigning seats in the 
church or meeting house, great attention was paid to social 
importance, though some concession was made to people 
who were hard of hearing. Otherwise, the gentlemen had 
the first pews, then came the respectable tradesmen and 
farmers, and lastly the servants and those of low social rating. 

The term "Mrs." was applied to both married and unmar- 
ried gentlewomen, a fact of genealogical significance which is 
too often overlooked. 

Substantial citizens who were not entitled to the prefix 
of gentility were formally addressed as "Goodman Jones" 
or "Goodwife Morris," and the feminine title was often 
shortened to "Goody." In determining the social position of 
an ancestor, it is well to scrutinize every record to see what 
terms of respect were applied to him, how closely he was 
seated to the pulpit in the meeting house, and who were his 
intimate friends and associates. 

Ignorance of these rudimentary principles has been re- 
sponsible for the printing of a great deal of nonsense by 
amateur family historians. Some have recklessly identified 
an immigrant ancestor as younger son of an English knight 
or peer, when the appellation of "Goodman" and similar con- 
siderations clearly demonstrate that his ancestry should be 
sought in the yeoman or tradesman class. The compiler of 
a Dunham genealogy evolved the fantastic theory that the 
first John Dunham, who was referred to in certain records 
as "Goodman" Dunham, was identical with John Goodman of 
the Mayflower. He could not have considered the prefix 
"Goodman" as evidential if he had known the frequency with 
which it was applied. 

The term "servant" did not necessarily imply social in- 


feriority, but merely "one who serves." That is to say, there 
was no fixed and permanent servant class among the colonial 
settlers of New England. A boy was often apprenticed, 
most generally at about the age of fourteen for seven years, 
to learn a trade. While serving his apprenticeship, he was 
the "servant" of the man to whom he was apprenticed who 
during that term was his "master". The master was obliged 
by the "articles" of apprenticeship to supply the boy with 
food and clothing and often a certain amount of education, 
besides teaching him his trade, and sometimes it was pro- 
vided that the boy upon attaining his majority should re- 
ceive a modest amount of money or its equivalent in land or 
livestock. Whatever the boy could earn beyond that, be- 
longed to his "master". 

Sometimes a boy was apprenticed to an uncle or other 
relative, and more often than not, his family belonged to 
the same social class as the family of his master. It was 
no unusual thing for an attachment to spring up between an 
apprentice and a daughter of his master, culminating in a 
marriage alliance. A family in which there were too many 
girls might arrange for one of the daughters to enter the 
household of a neighboring family in which there were too 
many boys.- Such domestic service did not lower the girl's 
social status below that of the family in which she worked, 
unless she entered the service of a "gentleman's" family who 
even without such service were already her social superiors. 

The primitive economic conditions of the country in 
colonial days should be recognized, and those who are inex- 
perienced in genealogical research should abandon all pre- 
conceived ideas of social distinctions and study conditions 
as they actually were; otherwise, they are certain to mis- 
interpret the records they find. 

Terms used to denote degrees of relationship had some- 
what different meanings than they have today, and this too 
is a stumbling-block to amateurs. First of all, husband 
and wife were identified as one person. Hence, when a man 
writes in his will of "my brother Jones" and "my sister 
Jones," he may be referring to his own sister and her hus- 


band, to his wife's sister and her husband, or to his wife's 
brother and that brother's spouse. 

It is not always possible to decide, in the will of a Puritan 
around 1650, whether the "Brother Peck" and "Brother 
Perkins" whom he appointed overseers of his estate were 
relations by marriage or merely brothers in the church. The 
expression "my Brother Peck" makes it sound a little more 
like relationship, but is not conclusive. The same uncer- 
tainty attaches to the use of the term "sister" in these early 

The term "in law" implies a kinship that came about 
through marriage rather than through lineal or blood connec- 
tion. The term "brother-in-law" nearly always means either 
a sister's husband or a wife's brother; which it means has 
to be determined through other considerations. A man's 
father-in-law was either his wife's father or his own mother's 
second husband. Amateurs are sometimes bewildered by a 
record which states that a boy of fourteen chose his father- 
in-law for guardian ; of course, "stepfather" is meant. In the 
same way, "mother-in-law" meant either a man's stepmother 
or his wife's mother. When, in the settlement of an estate, 
the widow and children of the deceased made an agreement, 
and the children made provision for their mother-in-law, 
this proves that she was a second or later wife and not the 
mother of the children. The terms "son-in-law" and "daugh- 
ter-in-law" had also the same double meanings. 

Many errors in books prepared by compilers of insufficient 
knowledge are caused by such misinterpretations of records. 
A Hitchcock Genealogy, for example, suggests that two 
daughters of John Hitchcock married two Lines brothers, 
though upon investigation we find that they were well pro- 
vided with wives without such a Hitchcock alliance. The 
explanation is simple. John Hitchcock had married the 
mother of the Lines brothers and hence was referred to in 
a record as their father-in-law. 

The term "cousin" is perhaps the one which is most 
puzzling to the untrained searcher. It was applied loosely 
to almost any type of relationship outside the immediate 


family circle. It was most frequently used to denote a 
nephew or niece, but it could also be applied to a first cousin 
or more distant cousin, or to the marital spouse of any of 
these relatives, and sometimes to other indirect connections 
who were not even related by blood. The first guess should 
be that a nephew or niece was meant; if this does not work 
out, then try to prove that a cousin in our sense of the word 
was meant; if this also proves impossible, it may require 
long and profound study to determine just what the con- 
nection was. This applies, generally speaking, to the use 
of the term in the colonies prior to 1750. No definite and 
exact date can be fixed, for the terms nephew and niece 
gradually supplanted cousin to denote that form of relation- 

The word "nephew" is derived from the Latin nepos which 
meant grandson. Sometimes it meant the father's grandson, 
hence a man's nephew. The original meaning of the word 
survived many centuries, and the writer has seen wills in 
this country in which grandchildren, both boys and girls, 
were called nephews. But for the most part, even in early 
colonial days, it was used, as at present, to denote the son 
of a brother or sister; or occasionally, the daughter of a 
brother or sister. 

In the 17th century, the expression "my natural son" or 
"my natural brother" usually meant a son or brother by 
blood as opposed to a son or brother by marriage or adoption, 
and did not imply illegitimacy. In English wills of the 17th 
century or earlier, an illegitimate child would be described 
as "my base son" (or daughter) or even "my bastard son" 
(or daughter), the latter term being then merely descriptive 
and not opprobrious. 

Perhaps no phrase has caused more confusion, not only 
to amateur-searchers but even to very experienced genealo- 
gists, than that of "my now wife" or "my present wife". 
Almost invariably it is taken to mean that the testator or 
grantor must have had a former wife before the one named 
or referred to in the document. It need not mean anything 
of the sort, unless the maker of the document is drawing a 


distinction between the children he had by a former wife 
and those he had by his present wife. Ordinarily, it was 
merely a legal phrase, precautionary rather than explanatory. 
A man could leave nothing to a former, dead wife. But he 
could marry a second wife if his "now wife" should die, and 
the specified bequests were intended for the wife to whom 
he was married at the time, not for some wife he might 
marry in the unknown future. 

Now a man's wife might be the only wife he had ever 
had, and the mother of his children. He might wish to make 
unusually generous provision for her. If after making his 
will she should die and he should marry again, and he should 
die without having made a new will, he might not wish this 
second, later wife to have more than her legal dower, or 
such provision as might be made for her in a prenuptial con- 
tract. If his will made the more generous provision simply 
for "my wife", there might be a bare chance that a later 
wife could claim that he intended this provision for the 
benefit of whoever happened to be his wife when he died. 
Hence the scribes or notaries who wrote the wills and deeds 
often employed these phrases, "my present wife" and "my 
now wife," to provide against such a contingency. Some- 
times, of course, it happened that the man had been married 
before; often he had not. But in either event, this phrase 
was not necessary to protect his heirs against a former, dead 
wife, who never could make any claim, but against a possible 
future wife. 

Those who consult 17th century records should be familiar 
with an odd substitute for the possessive case of nouns, 
then prevalent. Instead of writing "Jones's brother Smith," 
the early scribe frequently wrote, "Jones his brother Smith". 
Or, he might write, "Smith his house," or "the widow John- 
son her son". The use of the pronoun in place of the posses- 
sive case is confusing to those who have not familiarized 
themselves with it, and sometimes leads to incorrect interpre- 
tations of early records. 

The use of two surnames, joined by the word "alias", is 
puzzling to the novice. There were several causes for the 


adoption of two surnames. Sometimes in England, when a 
man had married an heiress and the children inherited her 
estates, they were known both by the father's and the 
mother's names. Sometimes a child whose father died early 
was known in youth by a stepfather's name, and later adopted 
the alias to make his identity clear, joining the own father's 
surname to that of the stepfather. Again, in cases of adop- 
tion, the original name and that of the foster parent were 
both retained and joined with an "alias". But when we find 
in early American records a man referred to as "John Noon 
alias Night," the most usual explanation is that John was 
of illegitimate birth, that Noon was the name of his reputed 
father, and that Night was his mother's name. However, 
in case of other possible reasons for the alias, illegitimacy 
should not be assumed without investigation of the specific 

The terms "senior" and "junior" did not as a rule imply 
the relationship of father and son until we reach the 19th 
century. In a day when middle names were not generally 
given to children, the rapid increase of the early colonial 
families quite naturally produced many individuals with 
identical names. Such individuals found it necessary to 
adopt some method of distinction, to avoid confusion, when 
signing deeds or other documents. The elder was called "Sr." 
and the younger "Jr." whether they were father and son, 
uncle and nephew, or cousins. Serious mistakes are found 
in many family histories because of the failures of the com- 
pilers to inform themselves in this matter, and their insis- 
tence that "Jr." must have been son of "Sr." 

For example, Gerard or Jarard Spencer of Haddam, 
Conn., in his will dated 6 June 1738, proved 15 Jan. 1744/5, 
gave lands to his "sons Jarrard Spencer Junr Benjamin 
Spencer Daniel Spencer Junr Ephraim Spencer" and to the 
children of his eldest son John Spencer deceased. 1 It will 
be seen that he had two sons whom he called "Jr.", one of 
them obviously because named after himself. But what about 
the son whom he called Daniel, Jr.? Gerard had a first 

1 Colchester Probate District, File No. 2827. 


cousin Daniel, much younger than himself and not much 
older than Gerard's son Daniel, and this cousin, because of 
seniority of age, was known as "Sr." 

Those who search documentary sources encounter this 
phenomenon constantly. In one town, five men named John 
Hall lived contemporaneously, and they were strictly labeled, 
according to age, Sr., Jr., 3d, 4th, and 5th. When Sr. died, 
each stepped up a notch, Jr. becoming Sr., and so on; for 
these appellations did not remain attached permanently to 
the same individual, but were applied to distinguish between 
living men of the same name in the same township. If John 
Hall 4th moved to some other town, he was no longer of Wal- 
lingford, hence John Hall, formerly 5th, would automatically 
become "John Hall, 4th, of the town of Wallingford". The 
writer has actually seen deeds in which a man called himself 
"John Doe, Jr., formerly 3d." The novice becomes hopelessly 
confused in his efforts to determine the identity of the John 
Doe who was his ancestor when confronted with a perfect 
labyrinth of John Does. 

It has often been observed that the early land records, 
unlike those of later date, contain much genealogical informa- 
tion. After 1800, the deeds only rarely show more than 
that a man bought and sold, unless a group of heirs convey 
inherited property, either singly or as a group. Even these 
later deeds are useful, for sometimes a man bought land in 
a place before he came there to live, and the purchase deed 
states his former habitat. Also, a man sometimes removed 
from a town before he had disposed of all his land there, 
and his last sale then shows his new place of residence. 
Identity is frequently established in this way during the 
period of migration to the West. 

But even in the colonial period there is much variation 
in the amount of genealogical data contained in the deeds 
in different places. In some towns it is very apparent that 
the justice or notary who drew most of the deeds over a term 
of years had the type of mind which likes to be specific and 
to give every relevant detail. Deeds drawn by such men are 
a boon to the genealogist. The writer has seen them specify 


that the land belonged to a great-grandfather of the grantors, 
with the descent of the land (or the right to it) traced 
with full names and relationships through the intervening 
generations In other towns, the magistrate who drew the 
deeds seemed to delight in withholding all the information 
he could, and would merely have the grantors assert that they 
had right and title to convey the land in question, with no 
explanation of how they acquired the right and title* 

Once an argument arose that B was not son of A, because 
A in conveying land to B failed to call him his son, although, 
so the local genealogist claimed, it was then customary in 
that town at that period to mention such relationships when 
they existed. The writer examined the deeds recorded in 
that town with some care, and made this discovery. When 
a man conveyed to his son "for love and affection," the deed 
specifically says "to my son," that being the consideration 
for the conveyance of the land. But when, as occasionally 
happened, a son bought land from his father, the considera- 
tion was the amount of money paid, and in such cases no 
relationship was stated, and for all the deeds show, the 
grantor and grantee might have been utter strangers who 
happened to have the same surname. 

If we must draw a moral, the moral is that conditions 
and practices varied in different places and at different 
times, and that it is not always safe to draw general con- 
clusions from limited experience or from research in a limited 



Names, dates and places are the working material of the 
genealogist, and for ease and accuracy in handling dates the 
genealogist should possess or develop a mathematical mind. 
He should see at a glance that a man born in 1738 was too 
young to marry in 1751 ; and that he probably did not marry 
a woman born in 1724. Experience teaches him to weigh 
problems of dates and to draw conclusions from them almost 

When very few positive dates are available, and the 
genealogist desires to check the probability of an alleged 
pedigree or a series of relationships, it is helpful to assign 
"guessed" dates of births. If the children of given parents 
are known, but not their birth dates, these can be guessed 
from known dates. If the age at death of one of the 
children is found stated, then for this one we have an ap- 
proximate date of birth, probably not more than a year 
away from fact in either direction. We thus can work from 
the known towards the unknown, and group the other children 
about the one with the fixed date. The marriage dates of 
some of the children may be known, and birth dates may be 
guessed from these, on the basis that a boy married at from 
22 to 26, and a girl at from 18 to 24. When one of the girls 
had recorded children born from 1721 to 1745, for example, 
then at a glance we can set down 1700-1701 almost with 
certainty as the approximate time of her birth, because 
here we have the known limits of the period of child-bearing 
to guide us. 

Such "guessed" dates should be clearly marked in some 
way to avoid confusion with positive dates that have record 
authority. They can be placed in brackets, thus: [say 1700]. 

* Originally published under the title, "Dates and the Calendar", in The 
American Genealogist, vol. IX, Jan. 1933. 


Or the date can be preceded by the word ' 'circa", Latin 
meaning "about", or its abbreviation, "c." or "ca." 

When we have arrived at such approximate dates for 
the births of all the children, the advantage is the picture 
it gives us of the family as a whole. Perhaps our problem 
is the parentage of one Charles Evans, and we suspect that 
he belonged in the family group whose approximate ages 
we have been working out. We know, let us say, from his 
age at death, that he was born about 1685. Let us suppose 
that the births of this group of children we worked out can 
be placed with extreme probability between 1698 and 1715. 
It then appears that our Charles, born about 1685, was more 
probably of the previous generation, possibly an uncle of 
the children whose ages we guessed. 

For many reasons it is advantageous in doing genealogical 
research to consider the family group, not to look upon each 
ancestor as an isolated individual, or as a mere link in a 
chain of descent. One of the most important reasons is, 
that it enables us to check the chronology. Very often, the 
relations of dates determine or negate the possibility of 
an alleged line of descent, or provide clues which might 
otherwise elude detection. It is a good idea to write out 
the full family history, or chart the relationships, while 
working, inclusive of "guessed" dates where positive dates 
are not known. It is a great aid to the memory as well as 
to the imagination, if the eye can see the members of the 
family grouped together. 

There is one technical matter that affects dates and needs 
to be studied in some detail if the genealogist is to under- 
stand and properly interpret the Old Style dates; this is the 
important calendar change of 1752. As few things are more 
confusing to the inexperienced searcher, a complete explana- 
tion of it will be given. 

The Calendar 

The Julian calendar was used throughout the Middle 
Ages in Europe. Its inaccuracy amounted to about three 
days in every four centuries. By the time the Gregorian 


Calendar (named after Pope Gregory XIII) was adopted in 
1582, calendar dates were ahead of actual time by ten days. 
Since actual time is the time it takes the earth for one com- 
plete revolution about the sun (a year), if the calendar had 
been left uncorrected, in the course of centuries the present 
summer months would have come in the winter, and vice 

Although the Roman Catholic countries adopted the Greg- 
orian calendar in 1582, the conservatism of the English, and 
the fact that the new calendar was sponsored by a Pope, 
delayed the acceptance of it in Great Britain and her colonies 
until after the passage of an Act of Parliament in 1751. 1 
By this time, the old calendar was eleven days ahead of sun 
time, so the Act provided that in 1752, the second day of 
September should be followed by the fourteenth day of 
September. In other words, what would have been September 
3rd was called the 14th, exactly eleven days being thus 
dropped out of the year. 

The cause of the error was the addition of a day to the 
calendar each fourth year (Leap Year). This very nearly 
made the average year correspond with sun time, but not 
quite. In every 400 years, as above stated, the calendar 
went three days ahead of sun time. The dropping of the 
eleven days in 1752 brought the calendar back into harmony 
with sun time; and to provide against a recurrence of the 
trouble, it was also provided that on the even centuries, no 
Leap Year day should be added except in a century divisible 
by 400. Thus, 1800 and 1900 were not Leap Years, but 
the year 2000 will be. In this way, in the 400 years begin- 
ning with 1752, there will be three days less than there were 
in each 400 years preceding 1752, hence the old error will 
not be repeated. 

So little did the people understand the need for the 
calendar revision that an angry mob gathered outside the 
Houses of Parliament, demanding that the eleven days 

1 The Greek Church did not approve the calendar revision and conse- 
quently Greece, Bulgaria and Russia were on the Old Style calendar until 
the first World War, when they were thirteen days ahead of sun time. 


filched out of their lives be restored to them. Actually, 
calling the third day of September the fourteenth day did 
not deprive any person of eleven days of his life, any more 
than changing a man's name from Bill to Tom would make 
him a different person. The real effect was to make every 
person born on or before 2 September 1752 eleven days 
older (by the new calendar) than the record of his birth 
(in Old Style) would indicate. A child born on 2 Septem- 
ber 1752 (the last day of the Old Style) would be, by the 
calendar, twelve days old on the following day, 14 September 
1752 (the first day of the New Style). 

People do not like to be considered older than they really 
are, not even eleven days older. It was natural that those 
living in 1752 should "rectify" their birth dates. George 
Washington was born 11 February 1731/2. In 1752, the 
calendar change automatically made him eleven days older, 
so like most men of his generation, he rectified his birth 
date, making it 22 February 1732. The latter is the date 
on which he would have been born if the New Style calendar 
had been in effect in 1732 — which it was not. 

Although it was (and is) incorrect to change the dates 
prior to September, 1752, to New Style, it was done to such 
an extent by those living in 1752 that the genealogist has 
to make allowance for it. Suppose, for example, that a 
group of brothers and sisters were born between the years 
1743 and 1760. The older children were born before the 
calendar change, and in the town records the Old Style dates 
were therefore used in entering their births. The first 
child was born, let us say, 25 May 1743. Now, after all the 
children had been born, the parents bought a Bible, say 
about 1765, and entered in it their own marriage and the 
births of the children, giving New Style dates for all the 
children, including those born before 1752 whose birth days 
should properly have been entered Old Style. As a result, 
we find that the eldest child (whose birth in the contem- 
porary town records had been entered as 25 May 1743) 
was entered in the Bible as born 5 June 1743. Both dates 
are correct, but the former is the date that ought to be used, 


unless the latter has the words "New Style" added to indicate 
that it is a "rectified" date. 

A further effect of this change must be mentioned. When 
a man died after 1752, assuming that he was born before 
September, 1752, and his age at death was stated exactly in 
years, months and days, the resultant date of birth (figured 
from the age at death) is the New Style date of birth, and 
therefore eleven days later than the recorded Old Style date 
of birth. 

For example, Ephraim Burr, by his gravestone, died 
29 April 1776, aged 76 years and 13 days. Subtracting the 
age gives us 16 April 1700 for his birth, but of course to 
get the Old Style date then in use we must subtract eleven 
days more. His birth was not recorded, but he was baptized 
14 April 1700, two days before his New Style date of birth. 
After subtracting the eleven days, we find that his real date 
of birth, in accordance with the Old Style calendar then in 
use, was 5 April 1700, which was nine days before he was 
baptized. Obviously, he could not have been born two days 
after baptism, which is the result we get if we fail to make 
allowance for the calendar change. 

It is very necessary that the genealogist, professional or 
amateur, should thoroughly understand this calendar change, 
or he will miss proofs of identity furnished by the comparison 
of birth records with stated ages at death. 

When a child was born before 1752, and the birth was 
recorded contemporaneously, add eleven days to the date to 
obtain the New Style equivalent. 

When a person born prior to September, 1752 died after 
that date and the death record states the exact age, subtract 
the age from the date of death, and then subtract eleven days 
more to obtain the Old Style equivalent. 

Exact ages were not always stated, and unless the days 
are specified, the presumption is that the age is not exact. 
When the record states that a man died aged fifty years 
and eight months, he may have been that age to a day, 
but he may have been a few days over the fifty years and 


eight months. Recorders did not always bother to specify 
the age to a day, nor did those who had gravestones erected 
always so specify. 

In order to make quite clear the effect of the calendar 
change, to those who have difficulty in grasping it, the 
following was the order of days in 1752 beginning with 
August 30. 

30 August 

31 August 

1 September 

2 September 

14 September 

15 September 

New Year's Day 

One other change was made in 1752, and that was the 
date of beginning the New Year. It is understood by every- 
one that between one spring and the next a year has elapsed, 
similarly between one autumn and the next. But when we 
assign numbers to the years for convenience in referring 
to them, it is necessary to begin the new year on a particular 
day. The succession of seasons and years is entirely natural, 
caused by the orbit of the earth about the sun. But select- 
ing one certain day on which to start a new year is an 
artificial and an arbitrary thing. Consequently, various 
peoples in various ages have celebrated different New Year's 
Days. Some of the ancient races ended their year with a 
Harvest Festival, and the Jews still retain that season. 
Others began the year with the Vernal Equinox, and since 
Easter fell near that season, the date quite generally used 
for the religious New Year's Day by Christians was 25 March. 
There was no uniformity in the early centuries, and some 
began the year on 25 December, the traditional birthday 
of Christ. 

The only dates for New Year's Day which were in use 
in American colonial days among the English settlers were 
25 March and 1 January. The latter was the beginning of 
the legal year, while the former, as we have seen, had more 


religious significance. The Act of Parliament in 1751 estab- 
lished 1 January as New Year's Day for 1752 and subsequent 
years. Thereafter, we are not bothered by the confusion 
that existed when the year had two possible beginnings. 

Now, this change did not, like the dropping of eleven 
days, have any effect on the ages of persons then living. 
This will be seen if we suppose that it should be decided 
hereafter to celebrate the Fourth of July on Armistice Day. 
A person born 4 May would still be born on 4 May ; and when 
New Year's Day was shifted from 25 March to 1 January, it 
did not affect the birthday of a man born on 4 May. His 
birthday was still 4 May, Old Style, or 15 May, New Style. 

Some have misunderstood the effects of the change in 
New Year's Day, and have supposed that it caused a differ- 
ence of nearly three months in people's ages. 2 When the 
names of the months of birth were entered, such a notion 
is unthinkable. Before 1700, the early recorders sometimes 
used the number of the month instead of its name. This 
was the practice of the Quakers, and occasionally survived 
until a later period. Of course, March was then numbered 
as the first month, since New Year's Day fell in it, and 
dates before the 25th were considered as belonging to the 
first month, as well as dates after the 25th. April was the 
second month, and May the third. The early Quaker records 
were often very precise, stating that an event occurred "on the 
10th of the 5th month which is called July." 

When the number of the month was stated in any rec- 
ord prior to 1752, the genealogist should reckon March as 
the first month, and February as the twelfth. 

If a record states that John Jones was born on the 10th 
of the fifth month, 1710, this must be Old Style, and means 
that he was born in July. After 1752, July became the 
seventh instead of the fifth month, but this does not affect 
the fact that John Jones was born in July. 

Before 1752, there is likely to be some confusion with 

2 See, for example, the explanatory notes prefaced to the recent Coolidge 
Genealogy, for the expression of such a misunderstanding:. 


regard to dates between 1 January and 24 March, unless we 
know what New Year's Day a particular recorder used. It 
is apparent that if the year began 25 March, a man born on 
20 February was born before the new year began, hence 
a year earlier than it would be by New Style. If 1710 began 
on 25 March, then a man born on 20 February following was 
born in 1710, since 1711 did not begin until the next month. 
Dates between 1 January and 24 March fell in the preceding 
year if Old Style was used; but if New Style was used, this 
threw all dates after 1 January into the new year. 

The only problem in this connection is the year in which 
a man was born, and we always run the chance of an error 
of exactly a year if we do not know which calendar the 
recorder used. Back of 1700, we can usually assume that 
the year began on 25 March, and this is true of most church 
registers until 1752. But after 1700, the use of 1 January 
was gradually coming into favor, especially in legal docu- 
ments and town records. 

Careful recorders used a double date, and when this was 
done all confusion or uncertainty is eliminated. George 
Washington was born 11 February 1731/2, which means that 
the year was still 1731 if the New Year was reckoned as 
not beginning until 25 March, but that the year was already 
1732 if it had begun 1 January. That is, it was 1731 Old 
Style, or 1732 New Style. Genealogists should always copy 
the double date when it is given in the records for the single 
date is an uncertain one. The date 11 February 1731, Old 
Style, is identical with 22 February 1732, New Style. 

Sometimes records in Old Style look peculiar to us. In 
Norwich, Conn., vital records, we read that Robert Wade 
married 11 March 1691, and the eldest child was born January 
1691. We may assume that the marriage occurred 11 March 
1690/1, this recorder happening to use the later year date 
here because he was thinking of March as the first month of 
the new year; the child was born January 1691/2, ten months 
later. It was still 1691, Old Style. 

Remember that this confusion, before 1752, of year dates, 


applies only to dates between 1 January and 24 March, since 
all other dates belong to the same year regardless of when 
New Year's Day was celebrated. 



"But now instead of records, the upshot is a little lousy history .... Is 
a printed history, written by I know not who, an evidence in a court of 
law?" Lord Chief Justice Jeffreys * 

During the Revolutionary War a young woman named Jen- 
nie McRae was murdered and mutilated by Indians. This sad 
event has resulted in 122 separate accounts of Jennie's death. 
When a twentieth century historian made a comparison of 
these 122 versions, he was amazed to find these accounts 
agreed only in one particular, namely, that Jennie had been 

The case of Jennie McRae is illustrative of the necessity 
of a body of rules to guide the genealogist. There has never 
been a suitable standard devised by genealogists for accepting 
or rejecting genealogical facts. Every genealogist has been 
a law unto himself, operating with his own set of rules. 
Genealogists of recognized standing compile pedigrees with 
the same care as if they were to be presented in a court pro- 
ceeding. On the other hand, there is the rank amateur whose 
only standard is that the information came from some printed 

Considerable confusion can be eliminated if everyone en- 
gaged in genealogical research followed one body of rules in 
accepting or rejecting genealogical facts. The advantages 
are two-fold: (1) Genealogists will compile more accurate 
pedigrees because it will be necessary for them to apply 
strict rules in evaluating source material; (2) by applying a 
recognized standard of proof, it will be possible to assign logi- 
cal and objective reasons for the acceptance or rejection of 
genealogical facts, instead of one's own personal rules. 

What body of rules should be adopted ? Fortunately, there 
is a body of rules already in existence that applies to gene- 

l Mosscvmv. Ivy, 10 How. St. Tr. 555, 625 (1684). 


alogy. These are the rules of evidence applied in courts of 
general jurisdiction. On those occasions when a matter of 
pedigree, ancestry, or heirship is in issue in a court proceed- 
ing, these rules of evidence are in force. For that reason 
there is no body of rules more applicable to genealogy. 

Of course, it is seldom that the results of a genealogist's 
search become the subject matter of a trial in court, but in 
a very practical manner every genealogist in passing on the 
truth or falsity of genealogical data is acting as a court or 

The rules of evidence that follow are those that are appli- 
cable to genealogy and their application should result in genea- 
logical compilations of the most accurate type. 

Standard of Proof 

What standard of proof should apply to genealogy? First, 
it must be clear that genealogical facts, except in rare in- 
stances, cannot be proven to an absolute certainty. There are 
few things in life that can be so proven and matters of pedi- 
gree are no exception, unless it is possible to produce an eye- 
witness to such an event as a birth, marriage, or death. For 
example, a doctor who delivered an infant is competent to 
testify of his own personal knowledge as to the identity of the 
child's mother. The doctor's testimony cannot be used to 
prove the child's paternity to an absolute certainty because the 
doctor cannot know of his own personal knowledge who the 
child's father is. 

Therefore, if a pedigree cannot be proven to an absolute 
certainty, what standard is applied? In civil matters before 
the courts, the requirement is that the party seeking to es- 
tablish facts or prove the case, must do so by a preponderance 
of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence simply means 
proving a case by a greater weight of the evidence, or offering 
such proof as to convince the court or jury that the party pro- 
ducing the proof is right. 

It is often said by researchers that they have conclusive- 
ly proven a genealogical connection to be true. Such a state- 
ment is seldom correct, except in the rare cases where living 


eye-witnesses are available who have personal knowledge of 
the facts. Even in the case of an eye-witness, proof to an 
absolute certainty may fail if the credibility of the eye-witness 
is doubted. For these reasons, the courts do not require the 
high standard of proof of absolute certainty. The law only 
requires that the parties to a controversy involving a pedigree 
prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence, and that 
is not always easy ! 

What is Evidence? 

Evidence is information. It may be correct or false, but it 
is that which the mind considers in respect to an inquiry. We 
should distinguish between evidence and proof. Evidence is 
the information received, whereas proof is the effect produced 
by this information. When sufficient evidence is presented, 
proof is established. 

The rules of evidence are the laws which govern the admis- 
sion or exclusion of evidence. Just because certain evidence is 
admitted, that is, permitted to be considered (such as specific 
facts contained in a printed family history), does not mean 
that proof is the automatic result. The proponent of the 
family history is subject to examination and it may be shown 
that the family genealogy, county history, or other matter may 
not be correct. It is then up to the court or jury to make the 
final decision. After evidence is admitted, it is the function 
of the court or jury to pass on the credibility, weight, and 
authenticity of the evidence and accept or reject it. 

A genealogist is performing the functions of a court or jury 
when he sits in judgment on the evidence to prove specific 
genelogical facts. He passes on its admissibility, considers 
the weight and credibilty of the evidence, and then makes a 
decision based on that evidence. 

The Nature of Evidence 

The nature of evidence should not be confused with its 
forms, which will be discussed later. Evidence is either 
direct or circumstantial. Direct evidence is information 
which directly and instantaneously brings about a conclusion 


on a disputed issue. Direct evidence is always relevant. 
Whether circumstantial evidence is admissible depends on 
whether or not it is relevant. 

Circumstantial Evidence 

Circumstantial evidence does not make an instant and auto- 
matic inference upon the issue. It raises a thought or idea in 
the mind, and imparts information from which something in 
respect to the question may be inferred. 

The application of the rule of circumstantial evidence in 
genealogy is best illustrated by a hypothetical case. Assume 
you were tracing the ancestry of Titus Tumblebug Thompson. 
You found that John Thompson married Elizabeth Tumble- 
bug, daughter of Titus Tumblebug. Furthermore, the Thomp- 
son and Tumblebug families lived on adjoining farms. Stipu- 
late there are no other records available. Assume you were 
called to testify. If you testified to the above facts in that 
manner you would be testifying as a lay witness. As such 
you could just testify to those facts; you could not testify he 
was a son, as that would be a conclusion on your part. Your 
testimony would be circumstantial evidence. The possibility 
that Titus Tumblebug Thompson was the son of John and 
Elizabeth and grandson of Titus Tumblebug is an inference 
for the court or jury to make from your testimony, not you. 

If you were called to testify as an expert witness, your 
qualifications would be brought out on direct examination, 
they would meet the test, and you would testify as an expert. 
In answer to a hypothetical question, you would state that, 
in your opinion, Titus Tumblebug Thompson was a son of 
John and Elizabeth and a grandson of Titus Tumblebug, 
and you would give your reasons for your opinion. This 
would be direct evidence, because the evidence would act on 
the minds of the jury directly. 


In the law of evidence, two requirements of relevancy 
must exist. Logical relevancy : There must be a relationship 
between the evidence and the controversy. Legal relevancy : 


The proposed evidence must be of sufficient probative value. 

Material and Competent Evidence 

Immaterial evidence means that the proposed evidence goes 
to prove a fact not properly in issue. Competency really 
means that a person is qualified to testify. However, the 
term has been used to describe the character of the evidence 
offered. A person, in order to qualify as a witness, must be 
intelligent enough to receive and impart facts and must not 
suffer from certain mental or physical disabilities that would 
render him imcompetent as a witness. 

Opinion Evidence 

The general rule is that a witness must state only facts 
which he has acquired through the use of his own senses. An 
opinion is a conclusion formed by the mind. Generally, opin- 
ion evidence is not admissible. There are, however, excep- 
tions to this rule. A lay witness, for example, may testify 
to the mental and physical condition of another person, values 
with which he is familiar, and the speed of various things. 
The testimony of an expert witness is admissible under 
some conditions. Before a genealogist would be allowed to 
testify as an expert witness, it would be necessary to examine 
him on the witness stand to show that he can qualify as an ex- 
pert in his field. This is done by his answering questions 
relative to his education, training, and experience. 

Forms of Evidence 

The forms of evidence should not be confused with its 
nature nor with the method of introduction of evidence. Evi- 
dence may be classified into the following forms: (1) Testi- 
mony of witnesses; (2) Documents or writings; (3) Real evi- 
dence, such as photographs, sound recordings, or view (such 
as by the jury). 

Testimony of Witnesses. — A test of competency is 
whether the witness has received and can impart correct in- 

Documentary Evidence. — includes any writing, documents 


of any kind, books, papers, accounts, etc. The requirements 
of relevancy and materiality must be complied with. Docu- 
mentary evidence is subject to the rules applicable to hearsay 

Ancient Document Rule. — In law, an "ancient document" 
is a paper, map, book, or other writing over thirty years of 
age. Examples of ancient documents are : Wills, ancient deed 
recitals, family Bible records, newspapers, family genealogies, 
diaries, or letters. In order for ancient documents to be ad- 
mitted as evidence they must be authenticated by proving the 
following elements: (1) Age; (2) Unsuspicious appearance; 
(3) Contents; (4) Natural custody, that is, a satisfactory 
explanation of the custody of the document over the years; 
(5) Signature and handwriting if these are involved. 

Authentication of Other Documents. — Original docu- 
ments acknowledged before a notary public or other qualified 
officer do not require further authentication. 

Real Evidence 

Real or Demonstrative Evidence is evidence other than the 
testimony of witnesses or writings, consisting of objects, such 
as a tombstone or pedigree chart. 

The Hearsay Evidence Rule 

Hearsay evidence applies to both documentary and testi- 
monial evidence. "Evidence, oral or written, is hearsay when 
its probative force depends in whole or in part on the com- 
petency and credibility of a person other than the witness." 
Hearsay evidence is that species of testimony given by a wit- 
ness who relates, not what he knows personally, but what 
others have told him, or what he had heard said by others. 

Objections to Hearsay Evidence. — The primary objection 
to hearsay evidence is that it is not trustworthy. It is also 
objectionable because there is no opportunity for cross-exam- 
ination of the person who was primarily responsible for the 
statements made by the witness. 

Hearsay under some circumstances might be so likely to be 
true that if trustworthiness is satisfied and there is a practical 


necessity for it, the evidence might be admitted. "Trust- 
worthiness may be furnished by special circumstances which 
operate as a substitute for the test of cross-examination." 

Method of Proving Facts under the Hearsay Evidence 
Rule. — Thus there are exceptions to the general rule and 
hearsay evidence may sometimes be admitted, provided cer- 
tain conditions are complied with. These conditions are : (1) 
If there is a special guarantee of trustworthiness that the evi- 
dence is correct;. (2) if the evidence cannot be obtained any 
other way so it becomes a practical necessity to obtain it from 
the testimony of a person who has no personal knowledge 
(this is generally referred to as the "Necessity Principle"; 
necessity arises when the information should be considered, 
and the person who made the statement is dead, beyond the 
jurisdiction of the court, or is incompetent to testify) ; (3) 
if the information originated ante litem motam, or before 
the purpose for which it is now needed was known. If these 
three conditions are met, hearsay evidence is admissible for 

Exceptions to the Hearsay Rule 

Reputation. — Although general reputation existing in a 
community is hearsay, it may, under certain conditions be in- 
troduced. The necessity principle is satisfied because this is 
the only means whereby the information may be obtained. 
The evidence is considered trustworthy because it is based on 
the general observation of the community. 

Due to the paucity of marriage records, the necessity arose 
for proving a marriage by the general reputation in the neigh- 
borhood that a man and woman were in fact husband and 

Some courts admit reputation of other facts of family his- 
tory, such as reputation to prove a person's name or identity, 
birth, death, relationship, and genealogical facts appearing 
on gravestones and monuments in public places. 

There has been much data given to compilers, past and pres- 
ent, orally and in writing, and also found in such sources as 
newspapers, documents, letters, printed place and family his- 


tories, based on community reputation. This information 
could not be proven by living witnesses, but may be admitted 
for consideration under the ancient document rule and the 
declarations of pedigree and family history exception to the 
hearsay rule. 

Entries made in the Regular Course of Business, such 
as account books, records of corporations, stores and shops, 
are admissible under certain conditions. They are considered 
trustworthy because of the necessity that business records and 
accounts be kept accurately. In court, a proper foundation 
must be laid before they can be introduced. 

Official Records are hearsay evidence, but this type of 
hearsay is generally considered the most reliable. When of- 
ficial records are presented in court, they must be authenti- 
cated to show they are what they purport to be. It must 
be shown that the whole document is introduced to satisfy 
the Rule of Completeness. Example: Vital, land and pro- 
bate records; church records and ship registers when kept 
as required by law; assessors books, electoral registers, mili- 
tary and naval registers; inquisitions of escheat and post- 
mortem; inquisitions of population (census) ; officially printed 
court decisions, session laws and statutes at large. For gene- 
alogical purposes other than in court, the authenticity of the 
record may be determined by examination of the original or by 
a copy duly prepared and certified by a credible person. 

Declarations of Pedigree and Family History. — If the 
original declarant is unavailable, that is, deceased, incom- 
petent, or beyond the jurisdiction of the court, statement by 
another person of what such declarant said will be admitted 
for consideration. The declaration must have been made ante 
litem motam, or before the controversy arose. There must be 
no interest or motive on the part of the declarant to deceive. 
He must have been possessed of the usual testimonial qualifi- 
cation, and must have had fair opportunities for acquiring the 

Declarations of pedigree and family history may be in any 
form, oral or written. The declaration may consist of words 


or conduct, in the declarant's own handwriting or by assent- 
ing to or adopting the writing of another. Examples: 
Family Bible records, printed and manuscript family gene- 
alogies, declarations in place histories, oral declarations made 
by a relative, gravestone inscriptions, letters and diaries. 


In the absence of statutory provisions, affidavits are gener- 
ally not admissible as competent evidence, except in accord- 
ance with the rules pertaining to ancient documents, and as 
declarations of pedigree and family history, if the affidavit 
can qualify as such. 

For the ''Expert Witness" 

As a further aid in judging genealogical facts, and to assist 
a genealogist in the presentation of his testimony if called on 
as an expert witness, the following brief summary of trial 
procedure should prove helpful : 

Presentation of Evidence. — The order of proof and order 
of trial is within the discretion of the trial court, but is gener- 
ally as follows : 

(1) The proponent or plaintiff should exhaust all of his 
evidence in attempting to prove his case. 

(2) The opponent, contestant of a will, or defendant in a 
court proceeding, should then present all the evidence he has 
to prove his case. 

(3) The proponent may, as rebuttal, introduce evidence to 
try and contradict the proof offered in evidence by the op- 

(4) The opponent may offer evidence, which is termed 
"Surrebuttal". This process may be continued, subject to the 
discretion of the court. 

Examination of Witnesses. — After a witness is placed 
under oath or affirmation, the party that calls him commences 
what is known as "direct examination", in which the witness 
is asked questions that must conform to the rules of evidence ; 


otherwise the questions will be objected to by opposing coun- 
sel. Following direct examination, opposing counsel then has 
the right to cross-examine the witness. The purpose of cross- 
examination, among other things, is to test the truthfulness, 
memory, bias or prejudice of the witness. After cross-exami- 
nation, counsel for the party who called the witness has the 
right to try and repair any damage done on cross-examina- 
tion. This is called "Redirect Examination". Following re- 
direct examination, opposing counsel is privileged to re-ex- 
amine the witness. This is called "re-cross-examination". 
Re-direct and re-cross-examination could continue indefinitely 
except that the court has the right to cut it short if the 
evidence elicited is immaterial, irrelevant, or merely cumula- 

Leading Questions. — A leading question is one so framed 
that it suggests the answer the interrogator desires. For 
this reason, the general rule is that leading questions are ob- 
jectionable. Leading questions are permitted to obtain pre- 
liminary information, during direct examination under cer- 
tain conditions when the witness does not recall information, 
and during cross-examination, and when the witness is hostile. 


Presumptions are not evidence; they are conclusions made 
from evidence. 

Presumptions are of two kinds, rebuttable and conclusive. 
Rebuttable presumptions are those that continue in force until 
overcome by evidence that is strong enough to rebut them. 
For instance, the cohabitation of a man and woman reputedly 
as husband and wife raises a presumption of marriage. This 
presumption is rebuttable, but the burden of disproving the 
marriage rests with the party raising the question in issue. A 
conclusive presumption is a legal fiction. It is considered 
true only because the law says it is true. An example of a 
conclusive presumption is: "The issue of a wife cohabiting 
with her husband, who is not impotent, is indisputably pre- 
sumed to be legitimate." 



General Rules for Judging the Reliability of Genealogical 

Class or 



Soiwce of Evidence 

Testimony of Wit- 
nesses: Evidence 
from a witness who 
has personal knowl- 
edge of the facts 
sought to be proven. 
An "eye-witness". 

Official records, such 
as vital, land, pro- 
bate and other court 

Type of 



Rating of 
the Evidence 

Excellent — de- 
pending on the 
competency and 
credibility of the 

Excellent, but 
still hearsay. 
Nevertheless, apt 
to be correct in 
most cases. 

3rd Testimony of Wit- 

nesses: Evidence 
from a witness who 
does not know the 
facts from his own 
personal knowledge. 
(Testimonial family 


Excellent, but 
still hearsay. In 
isolated cases 
more reliable 
than Class 2. 

4th Unofficial records, 

such as church, cor- 
poration and other 
business records. 


Reliability varies 
greatly but gen- 
erally good to ex- 

5th Family records: Di- 

aries, journals, let- 
ters, Bible records, 
and any other rec- 
ords compiled by a 
member of a fam- 
ily. (Documentary 
Family Declara- 
tions. ) 


Reliability varies 
from poor t o 
good. If it is a 
con temporary 
record made by 
one having per- 
sonal knowledge, 
rate it excellent. 

6th Newspaper files: 

Contemporary ac- 
counts of births, 
marriages, and 


Good. The haz- 
ard here is the 
informant and 
printers' errors. 

7th Family genealogies: 

Printed and manu- 
script works. 


Good. The test is 
who compiled the 
work and when, 
and from what 



Class or 


Type of 


Rating of 
the Evidence 

Fair. Often un- 
reliable, but there 
are exceptions. 






Very unreliable. 

Source of Evidence 

General printed 
works: County and 
other local histories. 
Newspaper ac- 
counts: Obituaries, 
biographies, geneal- 
ogies which are 
not contemporary 

Traditions: Stories 
or information pre- 
sumably passed from 
one generation to an- 

Folklore: Legends, 
stories and other in- 
formation not origi- 
nating in the fam- 

The foregoing rules for judging reliability of genealogical 
data are subject to the application of the rules of evidence and 
are further subject to the possibility that occasionally what is 
generally considered the least reliable source may be true and 
the most reliable evidence false. 

Although it has not been possible to give thorough con- 
sideration to many phases of the rules of evidence in this 
chapter because of space limitations, it is hoped it will assist 
genealogists to judge genealogical facts in an objective man- 
ner. If you are able to do so, you are in effect a judge pre- 
siding in a court of genealogy. The responsibility of a judge 
is great, so you will consider your decisions carefully. 



Sooner or later, most genealogists, whether professional or 
amateur, wish to have some of their collected data printed; 
perhaps in pamphlet or book form by themselves or members 
of the family, or in an article contributed to a periodical. A 
few practical hints as to the preparation of their material may 
therefore prove helpful. 

Material for the printers to use in setting type is known as 
"copy". The copy should be written or typed on one side of 
the page only; the standard size of typewriter paper is best. 
Do not use too large a sheet, as it is more difficult for the 
compositors to handle. Legible handwriting is better than 
poor typing, because inexpert typists make more inadvertent 
errors ("type errors") than they do when writing long-hand. 
If these are not found and corrected, the errors may appear in 
the book, or if caught during the proofreading the printers 
will make an extra charge for corrections after the type is set. 

If typing is employed, be sure to double-space everything 
and to leave good margins, particularly on the left of the page. 
If the copy is written by hand, the same rule against crowding 
applies. You may want different sections set in different 
sizes of type, but do not attempt to show this by double-spac- 
ing some sections and single-spacing others. The copy should 
be properly marked in the left-hand margin, to inform the 
printers what size of type is desired. 

The men who actually set the type are called compositors. 
When you are having your compilation printed personally and 
call on a printer, he will show you books in which dif- 
ferent sizes of type may be seen, and after you have made 
your selection he will tell you how to mark the copy; or if 
you explain to him your wishes, he will mark the copy for the 

* Reprinted from The American Genealogist, XII, July 1935, 2-4. 


compositors. Standard sizes in general use are ten-point for 
the body of a book, and eight-point for lists of children, long 
quotations, or any section where smaller type is desired. In 
books with pages larger than the ordinary library size and 
with wide margins, eleven and nine-point type are sometimes 
employed. The advice of an experienced printer is to be 
valued in the selection of type and binding. The size of type 
chosen should, in general, be proportionate to the size of the 

The simple rules above are important in submitting articles 
for publication in magazines. Every periodical has its own 
"style" and the editors need space in which to mark the copy 
with instructions for the compositors. They also need space 
in which to make corrections if the copy contains obvious 
"type errors." Furthermore, many writers — some of them 
excellent writers in some respects — are guilty of occasional 
misspellings or fail to follow the standard system of punctua- 
tion. Most genealogical magazines are understaffed, and 
considerable labor is required of the editors in preparing copy 
for publication. Is it any wonder that they "shy away" from 
manuscripts so crowded that it will be almost impossible for 
them to make the proper annotations and corrections? Your 
manuscript therefore has a much greater chance of acceptance 
if it is properly typed. 

Never use capitals in typing your copy except for the initial 
letters of sentences and of proper nouns. The typewriter has 
only small letters (which printers call "lower case"), and 
capital letters. The font of the printers has both small and 
large capitals ; the small capitals are of the same height as the 
small letters, while the large capitals are a trifle higher. 
When you type a name entirely in capitals, most compositors 
will think this calls for their large capitals. These, for most 
uses, stand out and hit the eye too much on the printed page. 
There are places where you may want them, but in most places 
you will prefer small capitals with only the initial letter in 
large capitals. Therefore, do not type in capitals; type the 
ordinary way, and draw two pencil lines under the name for 
small capitals, or three lines if you really want large capitals. 


The appearance of many a book has been injured by ignorance 
of this bit of information ; and you can imagine the burden it 
places on editors when they have to mark over your capitals. 
This is the way a name appears in print if you type it in 
capitals: JOHN SMITH. This is probably the way you 
wanted it to appear : John Smith. 

Never type or draw a single line under a word unless you 
want it set up in italics, for that is the standard way of des- 
ignating italics. 

In submitting material for publication in a magazine, it is 
better not to mark the copy for the compositors, even though 
you may be thoroughly familiar with the symbols employed; 
for there is always a possibility that the font of type used in 
printing the magazines may not contain precisely what your 
directions call for. 

If you have typed a line to the margin which should have 
been indented, place the mark "1" in the left-hand margin at 
the beginning of the line. If you have indented a line which 
should have been brought out to the margin, place the sign 
"[" against it. To designate the beginning of a paragraph 
where you have typed solidly, insert the symbol "fl M directly 
to the left of the word which you wish to have begin a new 
paragraph. If you have started a new paragraph and change 
your mind, write "No If" in the margin to the left, and the 
compositors will not begin a new paragraph there. If a letter 
has jumped up in typing, and you do not want it raised, place 
" I — I " directly under the letter. Turn this jigger over, with 
the two prongs pointing down, if you want a letter raised. 

Part 2 





Family Bibles and Family Vital Records 

In the early days of our country many families, if they 
bought no other books, purchased a Family Bible. In these 
old Bibles there were blank pages, often headed "Births", 
"Marriages", and "Deaths", on which the head of the house 
kept the vital records of his family, writing in each event as 
it occurred. The Bible usually passed on his death to his 
eldest son who kept the record going, while younger sons 
started similar records of their own. 

As will readily be seen, these old Family Bibles provide 
some of the most important records available to us of the 
early years of our country. Municipal and state records are 
often made up at a later date than the Bible entries and may 
contain inaccuracies that stem from (1) clerical errors, (2) 
errors of transcription, (3) errors due to second-hand or word 
of mouth reports, or may omit entries entirely. (Even cur- 
rently, the state vital records are not complete. For in- 
stance, though the author was born in Philadelphia, Pa., in 
1911, and his birth is recorded in his church, school, college, 
and in several Family Bibles, and though he possesses a valid 
passport, is a voter, and holds a reserve commission in the 
Army, still his birth is not recorded in the vital records of the 
State of Pennsylvania.) 

In the colonial days, many towns kept no vital records, and 
the records of others were destroyed by fire or in some other 
manner. In such cases, the Bible records often provide the 
only information available to us. 

When the actual Family Bible record was not kept, there 
are many cases where a member of the family made a record 
of the family's vital statistics on a scrap of paper and saved 
his record for posterity just as the Family Bible was saved. 


These records are, of course, important for the same reason. 

In analyzing the accuracy of Bible records or similar family 
papers : First check the printer's date on the title page against 
the earliest dates shown in the record. Second, the student 
must consider whether the record was contemporary with the 
event recorded. If the record shows evidence of being made 
piecemeal (one entry at a time) the chances are excellent 
that it is accurate. Inaccuracy increases with the time lag 
between occurrence and entry. At the beginning of all such 
entries, the head of the family or other person making the rec- 
ord usually put in all the known facts about his family, many 
times years after the event. A man might already have a 
grown family before he could afford a Bible and make his first 
entry. He might then make his initial entries — his marriage, 
children's birth dates, death dates, all from memory, and 
though his own and his wife's birth and marriage dates would 
probably be correct, yet all his children might not be correctly 
recorded. If his initial entries were copied from an earlier 
record, his chances of accuracy naturally increased. 

As an example of the differences to be noted between 
Family Bible and Vital Records, refer to The American Gene- 
alogist, vol. XIX, p. 106. See the reference note under Moses 
Fifield, and note that the Vital Records of New Hampshire 
show Moses' wife as "Mary, of Billerica." Actually, as shown 
by the Family Bible record, and verified by the marriage and 
birth records of Billerica, we know that her name was Lucy. 
The Vital Records also give the wrong year for the birth of 
the daughter, Mary. Note similar differences between the 
Bible and Vital Records in the case of the family of John Fi- 
field, ibid, vol. XVI, p. 174. 

Where there is disagreement between the Vital Records and 
the Bible entries, confirmation of one or the other should be 
sought from a third source; failing this, probabilities must 
be considered in deciding which entry is correct. For in- 
stance, if the children listed in the Bible are spaced at regular 
intervals, except for the date in question, and the vital record 
entry fits better into the pattern, then the vital record entry is 
more probably the correct one. 


Bible entries are sometimes counterfeited by unscrupulous 
persons who are selling a spurious pedigree either to flatter or 
for profit. This type of record is easier to counterfeit than a 
vital record entry and, if there is any doubt of authenticity, 
the Bible references should be carefully examined in the origi- 
nal. One example of a very doubtful entry is that given for 
Nicholas Frost's family and quoted in Stackpole's Families 
of Old Kittery, p. 414. Note that Stackpole himself does not 
accept this reference, though he has quoted it. 

Family Bible entries have been, and still are, accepted 
as supporting evidence in proofs of relationship for legal pur- 
poses. In the pension files in the National Archives and in 
the passport office of the Department of State are many 
papers that employ such records for support of claims. 


Much important genealogical material is lost every year 
with the destruction of old family letters. To be uninitiated, 
the newsy letters of our forefathers have interest only for 
their "queer" spelling, punctuation, and unusual words. How- 
ever, far from being worthless, properly studied they often 
provide keys to descent that are otherwise unobtainable. 
Happy, indeed, is the experienced genealogist if he can dip his 
hands into the old letter boxes of the families whose connec- 
tions he is seeking. 

To show how such letters are used, let us examine the in- 
valuable Wansboro-Shepherd correspondence that appears in 
the article, "Sheppards of Fenwick's Colony", The American 
Genealogist, vol. XV, p. 15. Here we find a group of nine 
letters between these Irish and Colonial American families. 
The first is a letter dated 4 May 1700, from James Wansboro 
in Ireland to his sister's husband, Thomas Shepherd at Cohan- 
sey, West Jersey. The second, dated 9 April 1716, and the 
third dated 20 April 1716, have the same addressee and 
addressor. The fourth (2 April 1724) and the fifth (10 April 
1724) are from Joseph and Esther Armitage and Samson and 
Rachel Bascorfield in Ireland to Mrs. Ann Shepherd, wife of 
Thomas. The sixth (26 January 1726) is from Thomas 


Shepherd in Ireland to his Aunt Ann Shepherd, widow of 
Thomas, and the seventh (18 April 1729) from James Wans- 
boro to the same addressee — his sister. The eighth and ninth 
letters are from Robert Dawson to Moses Shepherd in Cohan- 
sey. The eighth is dated 23 July 1732 and from England. 
The ninth is dated 3 April 1741 from Philadelphia (in Amer- 

From the information furnished in these letters, the charts 
on pp. 28 and 29 of the same volume of The American Gene- 
alogist are made up. Thus, it was possible to show the re- 
lationships of all these people to each other accurately and 
determine the maiden names and relationships of a number of 
the wives. In addition, clues are provided to the domiciles 
in Ireland, not only of the Shepherd and Wansboro families, 
but of a great many others. It will be appreciated that this 
type of identification of a colonist with an old world town is by 
far the best proof that can be obtained for former residents. 
Although mention in wills and deeds occur infrequently, even 
when they do, they are usually rather indefinite as to locale 
as "so and so in America", or "so and so in New England." 

The "lost" or "difficult" period for many researchers today 
is that directly following the Revolution and up to about 
1850. This is because in printing family sketches, collecting 
and compiling old records, and in writing up definitive articles 
on confused lines, emphasis is always placed on pre-Revolu- 
tionary work, for its more general interest, and greater reader 
appeal and salability. This means that the toughest leg of 
the genealogist's course lies in this period of great, twice-great 
and thrice-great grandfathers. Except for New England, rec- 
ords often exist but not in collected form. Church records 
are fair, but usually in the hands of the churches, and we may 
be uncertain as to denomination. Careless legal work may 
have resulted in absence of deeds and wills. Census reports 
are often lost or incomplete. Here is the real spot for old let- 
ters to come to the rescue — and often they do. Let us take a 
typical example. 

There are in existence a series of letters written by Eliza- 
beth Shinnick, daughter of Lewis and Mary (Blake) Shinnick, 


to her cousin George Shinnick of Zanesville, Ohio, and sub- 
sequently, upon his marriage, to his wife, Mary. The first 
is dated 18 February 1839 and the last 16 May 1858. This 
covers a period of nearly twenty years. Aside from giving a 
clear picture of customs and atmosphere of the period and, 
from 1843 when Mary Shinnick started writing the women's 
fashions, they provide invaluable genealogical information. 
During the period covered, there were little or no vital statis- 
tics recorded in Philadelphia and Baltimore, the cities con- 
cerned, and unless church or other records were available, no 
real information of some of the people named could be ob- 
tained. Add to this the fact that this was the period of move- 
ment to the West, and it was often difficult to follow a family's 
migrations except by supposition. As an example, let us 
quote some of the information provided : 

In her letters of 1839, Elizabeth mentions her cousin, David Parr of 
Baltimore. Cousin William Shinnick has gone from Baltimore to Zanes- 
ville, Ohio. In 1840, a cousin, "Pine" is named, and Elizabeth names 
"Monday, the 31st of August" as "my birthday." In 1841, she stayed 
at Mrs. Parr's in Baltimore and Frances returned (to Philadelphia) with 
her. Two other brothers of Frances, and Miltiades Parr, a younger 
brother, are mentioned. "Cousin David Parr married since Frances left 
us." Cecelia James has married an Edward Starr. "Mr. James died 
three days after the marriage, so Cecelia is a mourning bride." She 
mentions her aunt, Sophia Lentz, and her cousin, Sophia Lentz. 
Uncle John Justice, Uncle Jacob Shinnick, of Baltimore, Uncle Michael 
Knorr of Philadelphia, Cousin Louisa Brunner are mentioned. Mr. 
James Parr is a Mason, "took Frances and me to the encampment." 
Cousin John called on me in Baltimore. Cousin James was married 
in Washington. Did not see Uncle Jacob. In a later letter, we gather 
that Uncle Jacob died before 27 September 1842. Aunt Betsey Bryant 
has been ill. Emanuel Mann of Baltimore has married a Miss Taylor. 
In 1843, William Milligan, son of Charles, died of dropsy at the age of 
16. A description of the wedding of her friend, Ellen Berrell to Joe 
Burr occupies a whole letter. Ellen and Joe have moved west to some 
place near Zanesville. George marries during this year. In 1844, she 
mentions that the Burrs live in Cincinnati. Ellen Burr is having a baby. 
Cousin John, brother of George, has been very ill (in Baltimore). 
George and Mary have had a son. In 1846 (she is now writing only to 
Mary) , George and Mary have had a daughter named Elizabeth after her. 
The daughter was six months old by 23 March 1846, and the son less 
than two years old. This spring, Miltiades Parr marries a Miss Pope. 


In 1848, William (in Zanesville) is engaged to a Matilda, and Mary 
and George have another son, William. (During the summer, Elizabeth 
visits Zanesville. One letter from Cincinnati, while on her way home 
mentions "Miss Price, now Mrs. Wilkins, was here. They were married 
last January, and live somewhere along the river." She sends her love 
to Sarah (later identified as Mary's sister) and to the three children. 
From Philadelphia, she writes that "Cousin David Parr's eldest daughter, 
Margaret Ann, is coming to visit." She is prevented, however, by the 
illness of her mother after the birth of a son. Miss Boraeff was married 
during the summer and her younger sister, about 19, died during the 
summer. Mary and George have another child, Charles. In 1849, Wil- 
liam and Matilda are now married. Mr. and Mrs. Ladd who are still in 
Zanesville have another child; William Derr's (of Philadelphia) wife is 
dead. "Father's little nephew, Lewis S. Justis, who lived with us" is 
dead. He was in his 13th year and his sister, Elizabeth, was with him 
when he died. Aunt Sophia Lentz is sick and so is Elizabeth Taylor, 
who is pregnant. In 1852, Elizabeth has now married Jesse Lee, and 
on 5 April, her son is "five weeks old last Friday", named Lewis Shin- 
nick Lee. "My grandmother, mother's stepmother, nursed me." Mary 
and George have another child. Mrs. Norman of Zanesville is now 
housekeeping in Philadelphia. Mrs. Woods of Zanesville is now living 
in Pittsburgh. In 1858, Elizabeth's daughter, Mary Ellen, is sick. Also, 
she (Elizabeth S. Lee) entered confinement on 7 September and had a 
daughter on the 10th, born with spasms, named Julia, who died on Oct- 
ober 3. Elizabeth has four charms made from "Father's, Mr. Lee's and 
my children's hair" — hence has only two living children. 

The foregoing is a good example of the information avail- 
able in carefully scrutinized correspondence. At the time 
these letters were written, no records of any comprehensive 
nature were available in Philadelphia, and much of the infor- 
mation given is available in no other place. 

Memoirs and Diaries 

Memoirs and diaries provide source material of great value, 
which is becoming better understood and more frequently 
used by genealogists. Unfortunately, bibliographies of this 
type of book are rare, and their indices are usually imperfect, 
necessitating exhaustive searches for particular facts. 1 The 

1 Two bibliographies that may be helpful are An Annotated Bibliography 
of American Diaries Written Prior to the Year 1861, by William Matt- 
hews, and New England Diaries, 1602-1800, by Harriette M. Forbes. 
Others may be located through use of Index to the Writings on American 
History, 1902-19 UO. 


types of material obtained from such sources include re- 
lationships (often very important in identifying two persons 
of the same name), location of properties, births, marriages, 
deaths, and interesting biographical and human interest 
material. Proof necessary for membership in patriotic socie- 
ties frequently is found. 

Diaries of the more important public figures have been pub- 
lished and are valuable for the detailed information available 
in them regarding the places and persons that they visited. 
The diary of Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts, pub- 
lished as Winthrop' s Journal, edited by Hosmer, is a case in 
point. Relationships of many New England families have 
been proved from statements that he made. Even his mention 
of a colonist's house has value in proving that a certain man 
lived in a certain area. Sometimes these statements are all 
that remain as evidence of such a man's existence. 

Many less known and relatively unimportant figures left 
diaries or records of value, many available in manuscript only ; 
some doctors left case books, a New Jersey mid-wife left a 
record of deliveries (Vineland Historical Magazine), some 
ministers left personal records of their activities. In Lovell, 
Maine, one resident as a hobby kept a record of deaths which 
has great value in supplementing the local records. The diary 
of Ephraim Bateman of Cumberland Co., New Jersey (pub- 
lished in the Vineland Historical Magazine) contains much 
important information regarding the families of local resi- 
dents in his neighborhood during his lifetime, information not 
available elsewhere. 

Many old diaries and memoirs are buried among the papers 
that collect in the family garret and are destroyed each year 
when housecleaning time comes around. Such papers fre- 
quently contain data of incalculable value to the genealogist, 
and which he cannot find elsewhere. The proper repository 
for such material is, of course, the nearest Historical Society, 
where they can be safely kept and made available to searchers. 

Most societies that maintain manuscript collections index 
these collections only by title. Investigating such documents 
for use in solving a specific problem is a slow task. Obtain, 


if possible, the assistance of a person who knows the collection 
or has used it before. Consider the geographic location and 
employment, as well as the period, of the writer of the docu- 
ments to determine if it is possible or likely that the writer 
came into contact with your subject or his relatives. It should 
be remembered that the subject's relatives may, even at a sub- 
sequent date, have become involved in litigation or some event 
of historical importance, so that the subject's .relationship may 
be reported in diaries or memoirs of a later period than that 
in which he lived. 

Unrecorded Deeds and Wills 

The use of deeds and wills in tracing pedigrees will be dis- 
cussed in detail later. However, it should be brought out that 
many deeds and wills have never been recorded, and may be 
found in the accumulation of papers among family possessions 
and in historical societies. 

In the days when our country was founded, with communi- 
cations poor, and many of our pioneer ancestors engaged in a 
real struggle for survival, not as much time was taken with 
legal formalities as now. Carelessness in filing deeds and 
wills was common. Even when wills were filed, distribution 
and executors' accounts were conspicuous by their absence. 
Occasionally, deeds found their way into the records some 
forty or fifty years after the transfers of property were ef- 
fected ; many were never recorded at all. Obviously, the 
genealogical information provided by deed recitations is of 
equal importance whether the deed ends up in the court house 
or remains in the family or historical society files. And such 
unrecorded material frequently supplements that which is 
available in the records. Today, and over the past fifty or 
more years, very few deeds are unrecorded; but for the 
early years of our country such documents are valuable in the 

As in the case of deeds, many early wills were never pro- 
bated, and remain in the possession of families or historical 
collections. Many, of course, have been lost or destroyed. 
Such wills are of inestimable value to the genealogist. Some- 


times, an unrecorded will provides the key information which 
has defied searchers, and gives the final proof on a descent. 
As with the unrecorded deed, the proper repository of such 
documents is the nearest historical society, where others may 
also have access to them. 

The value of unrecorded wills, unlike unrecorded deeds, is 
not limited to the early years of the country. It applies equal- 
ly well to contemporary pedigrees. When a person makes a 
will he states that it is his "last will and testament" and super- 
sedes all others. This wording suggests the value of the 
earlier and hence unrecorded will of the present day, which 
may not have been destroyed and may be sometimes found 
among old family papers. The earlier testament may mention 
children or relatives who were dead and so unmentioned in the 
later and final will. Perhaps a member of the family is cut 
off and unmentioned in the final version for offending the 
testator. Sometimes the name of the wife in the early ver- 
sion is different from that in the final, disclosing an earlier 
marriage. Often, much information about the testator's 
family and his personal history may be gleaned. An increase 
or decline in his property and fortunes, interests in other 
communities than that in which he lived, birth place, earlier 
places of residence, travels — all these things may be shown. 
The value of these earlier versions is often neglected, yet they 
should always be borne in mind by the biographer or gene- 

Diplomas, Certificates and Testimonials 

Among the papers in the family archives, little understood 
sources of information are the diplomas, certificates and 
testimonials. Examples of these might include graduation di- 
plomas from schools or colleges. These would indicate courses 
studied and years of instruction, and would help us to work 
out ages and determine places and residence. 

Certificates of membership, such as are provided by fra- 
ternal organizations and clubs, are not so useful as age in- 
dications (except in the case of college fraternities), but they 
also are the keys to other sources of information. Certificates 


are also granted for discharge from military and other gov- 
ernment service and state the duration of, often together with 
entry and separation dates, and type of service. Such certi- 
ficates may provide a physical description of the subject, in- 
cluding such items as height, weight, color of hair and eyes, 
scars, etc. Of course, this is very useful to the biographer, 
and also a key to government records. (As an example, see 
The American Genealogist, vol. XVII, p. 80.) Old passports, 
government orders, social security cards, and so on, are also 
keys to federal records, and provide date and period data. 

Testimonials are often given to persons retiring from busi- 
ness, clubs, government offices, etc., by their associates. These 
testimonials, frequently illuminated, contain such information 
as date, period and nature of activity, and sometimes personal 
or biographical information of value. Again, a key is pro- 
vided to other records which would possibly assist the gene- 
alogist or biographer. 

With the few statements above, the searcher will see how the 
smallest fragment of personal history may guide him to rec- 
ords of value. The items listed above are but a few of the 
"heirlooms" that may be expected to assist him in his search. 

The Census 

Probably no one set of records contains as much infor- 
mation about people living in the 19th century as the Fed- 
eral Census. Starting in 1790, a complete census of the 
inhabitants of the United States was taken every ten years 
but only the records up to 1880 are open to public inspection. 
These books must be searched page by page as they are not in- 
dexed and only in rare instances are the names alphabetically 
arranged. These records are divided by counties, the large 
cities divided by wards. 

In the 1790 census there are three items of interest to the 
searcher — all males over 16 years of age, all males under 16 
and all females. The 1800 and 1810 records are classified for 
males and females in five groups each. They are under 10, 10 
to 16, 16 to 26, 26 to 45, and over 45. The 1820 records are 


the same with the exception of an added column of 16 to 18 for 
males only. The males in this column are also in the 16 to 26 
group. The 1830 and 1840 records have more columns for 
ages. They run every five years up to 20 years and then every 
ten years to 100, both for male and female. The 1840 census 
also lists all those who were United States pensioners. Slaves 
and free colored persons are also listed in all these records. 
Only one name is given in each family, that of the head, either 
male or female. 

The inexperienced census searcher may sometimes wonder 
at the size of the family, which is often much larger than 
it was supposed to be. One must remember that not only the 
family, but servants, lodgers and any person living in the 
household were included at the time the census was taken. 

Beginning with the 1850 census, all names in the household 
are recorded together with the age, occupation and the state 
or country in which the person was born. In the 1880 census 
besides the birthplace of the subject there is also the state or 
country in which the parents were born. The relationship 
of the various members of the household is for the first time 
in this census. 

Often in following a person through the census years it 
will be found that the recorded age of a person does not agree 
in the various records. This is due to the fact that the infor- 
mation may have been given by different persons. In fact, 
there are cases in which the family was absent from home and 
the enumerator obtained what he could from some neighbor. 

Every state was supposed to have retained a copy of each 
census taken within its borders, but many of these records 
have been lost. Even in Washington, the files are not com- 
plete. In addition, many states had their own census taken 
between the dates of the Federal Census. These give infor- 
mation which differs in many cases from the Federal Census, 
but these state records are in the possession of the state in 
which they were taken and, therefore, are often easier of 

Copies of the 1790 census, which has been printed and in- 
dexed, may be found in many libraries. The 1800 to 1830 


census may be consulted at the National Archives in Wash- 
ington, as well as the original records from 1830 to 1870. 
The paper on which the 1880 census was recorded is of such 
poor quality that the entire census of that year has been 
withdrawn from public use. Microfilms of this census are 
now at the National Archives." Some states, libraries, and 
societies have purchased copies of the films, from 1840 to 
1880, and these may be consulted in such places where they 
are on file. 

Federal Pensions s 

Of all the sources of genealogical information, probably 
more real interest is shown in the pensions than in any other. 
This interest is activated not only by a desire to gain member- 
ship in some patriotic society, but also by family pride, for in 
the claim there is often a description of service done by an 
ancestor, sometimes an interesting one. Nor is there any one 
subject which has come before Congress so many times. 
From 1776, when the Continental Congress passed the first 
pension act, up to the present time there have been many 
heated debates in Congress, some saying that the veteran did 
not receive enough, others saying that he received too much. 
Then too, there were many applicants whose proof of service 
was not thought sufficient by those in charge of the pensions. 
These claims were then given to the proper Congressman, 
taken before that body and generally granted. The missing 
records which are not in the Office of the Adjutant General 
and which the present day searcher bewails often kept a man 
from receiving a pension to which he was rightfully entitled. 

The first pension law passed in 1776 granted relief only to 
the maimed who were unable to support themselves. In 1818, 
another law was passed by which a man had to show that he 
was in actual want. That this seemed possible can be seen 
by the report of the Secretary of War, who claimed that by 

2 See List of National Archives Microfilm Publications (1953), and 
Federal Population Censuses, 1840-80, issued by The National Archives. 
8 All pension laws applicable to service prior to the Civil War are enume- 
rated and briefly described in Is That Lineage Right?, issued by the 
National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, in 1958. 


22 December 1819, 16,270 claims had been granted. 

In 1820, a new law was enacted requiring the soldier to in- 
clude a schedule of his whole estate, clothing and bedding ex- 
cepted. Often with these papers were copies of deeds which 
showed that the soldier had disposed of his property. Most 
of the copies of these claims are still in existence, although 
some have been destroyed by fire, or otherwise. 

In 1828, a law was passed granting pensions to all surviving 
soldiers of the Continental Army. This act required the 
Treasury Department to receive applications and make pay- 
ments to those who proved their claim. This they did until 
1835, when the administration of all pensions was transferred 
to the newly formed Pension Department. During these 
seven years, each pensioner was required to make a deposition 
before he received payment (twice yearly) and all these 
papers, together with probate papers and others were bound 
in books, one being filed in the Library of Congress, the others 
in The National Archives. 

The National Archives now has the Last Payments of Pen- 
sions of the Revolution, which are being filed with the pension 
papers. Not all of these records give the date of death of the 
pensioner; only the period in which the last payment was 
made. Others contain family records, when the money due at 
the death of the pensioner was divided among his heirs. 

In 1836, the Widow's Act was passed by which the widow 
of a Revolutionary soldier could receive a pension. Gener- 
ally, proof of the marriage was given by town or church rec- 
ords or by deposition. Some of the Revolutionary claims 
were rejected for want of sufficient proof of service, but in 
most cases these claims give more information about the 
soldier's service than he could have used if he had absolute 
proof of service. 

The survivors and widows of the War of 1812 did not re- 
ceive pensions until 1871 unless the survivor was maimed. 
That the act was popular is shown by the fact that within 
eight months after its passage about 32,000 claims were filed, 
among them those of 7,000 widows. 


Another valuable set of records connected with the War of 
1812 are the Bounty Land Claims. Many of these were made 
by widows whose husbands were not pensioners and who not 
only gave the service record of their husband, but some sort 
of proof of their marriage. Some of these have been inter- 
filed with the pension records ; others are in a separate series. 

The pension claims of the Indian and Mexican Wars all 
contain some information, while those of the Civil War often 
contain the marriage records and lists of the children. 

One never knows just what will be found in these pension 
papers, sometimes it will be a marriage certificate and oc- 
casionally there is a page torn from the family Bible. This 
sometimes contains several generations and is extremely 
valuable. In one Revolutionary pension of a sailor was a let- 
ter written by John Paul Jones which ordered the sailor to 
take charge of a prize taken while they were on their way to 

Several books have been issued by the Government, contain- 
ing lists of pensioners and they are accurate except for the 
year 1840. These lists were taken from the census records 
of that year which were supposed to contain the names of all 
United States pensioners. Some of the men listed in these rec- 
ords have no trace of a pension while others who are known 
to have received pensions are not listed. Much care should be 
used in connection with this book. 

In March 1943 the National Genealogical Society began the 
publication of an Index of Revolutionary War Pension Appli- 
cations as a "Supplement" to its Quarterly. This gives the 
name of the pensioner, state from which he served and desig- 
nating number of the pension file. When completed this will 
constitute a complete index of the Revolutionary War pen- 
sioners. By June 1959 this index had reached the letter "S". 

Military Records 

Anyone who has never searched the personnel records of the 
War Department will be surprised to find the number of clas- 
sifications into which the records of the different wars are 
divided. Besides the well-known wars — the Revolution, 1812, 


Mexican, Civil, and Spanish-American Wars — there are also 
lists of the Post Revolutionary Wars, 1798-1812, and many 
Indian Wars from 1818 to 1858, occurring in the South and 
West. There are also files of militiamen who, on account of 
some local trouble, were mustered into Federal service, some- 
times only for a single day. All of these are records of volun- 
teer or drafted men. 

Extending over all these years covered by the above records 
are the files of the Regular Army. The personnel records of 
early enlistments give very little genealogical data aside from 
the name of the soldier and the organization to which he be- 
longed, but gradually the records are broadened and more and 
more information is given. In a quest for a soldier, it is al- 
most necessary to know the name of the state from which he 
served as many names are duplicated and it is easy to pick out 
the wrong man. An error such as this, if not detected 
quickly, may lead to a long and useless search. 

The personnel records of the Revolution are not complete as 
this was fought before the country was organized and many 
of the muster rolls were kept by the officers as their personal 
property. Some of these missing rolls have been destroyed by 
carelessness, while others have been returned to the War De- 
partment. All records are carded, both by a general index 
and one by states. Besides the name of the soldier and the 
organization in which he served, there is little genealogical in- 
formation on these cards, though sometimes it is noted that he 
was taken prisoner. To supplement these records, there is a 
special index of items taken from various records, and the 
cards may show that the man worked as a teamster hauling 
supplies and cannon while those who supplied forage and 
other necessities are also listed. These records do not include 
the names of men who served only in the militia. Information 
about these soldiers must be procured from the state in which 
they served. 

The post Revolutionary War records are about the same 
as those of the Revolution but have no Special Index. 

The records of the War of 1812 give a little more informa- 
tion than the previous records as sometimes the distance be- 


tween the place of discharge and the soldier's residence is 
given. There is also a Special Index which gives the names 
of those who gave service to the Army but were not of it. 

The records of the Indian and Mexican Wars give little 
more information, but it is generally possible to prove that a 
man served during one of these wars. 

The Civil War records give still more information. It 
seemed to rest with the enlisting officer whether the town or 
only the state is given as the birthplace of the soldier. If the 
soldier was confined in a hospital there is frequently a "bed 
card" which gives the name of the next of kin. As a general 
thing, these records are satisfactory and give the full service 
of the soldier, his age, and his birthplace. 

The Confederate records are far from complete, but some 
of them give the age and birthplace. Others say that the man 
was taken prisoner or paroled on such a date. 

The records of the Spanish-American War give the man's 
age, birthplace and name of next of kin. 

World War I records are now in St. Louis, Missouri, but 
are not open to the public. Information may be procured 
from the Office of the Adjutant General of the state from 
which the man served. 

One of the best sources of information about men of modern 
times is to be found in the Selective Service Cards of World 
War I. In these cards are to be found the birthplace, age, resi- 
dence, next of kin, and the marital status of every man of 
draft age in the country in 1918. These cards are now in the 
custody of the Federal Records Center, East Point, Georgia, 
and the information may be procured from that office at a 
nominal charge provided that the state and city in which the 
man registered is known. 

Microfilms have now been made of the records of the 
soldiers in the Regular Army. The Confederate records are 
now also on microfilm. These films are in The National Ar- 

Naval Records 

The genealogist in search of sailors of the Continental or 
the United States Navy will find his task a disappointing one ; 


the reason being that no records were filed in the department 
for more than forty years after the organization of this 
country. During this time, the only records of the enlisted 
man were those inscribed on the ship's roll. Many of these 
rolls were not filed, but were kept by the master or some other 
officer of the ship and, of course, some of them were destroyed. 

If we know the ship in which the man sailed in the early 
days of the Navy, his name and rating (the only information) 
can be found on the roll of that ship, provided that roll is in 
the Navy files, which are to be found in The National Ar- 
chives. If the name of the ship is not known, it is still possi- 
ble to find the man by going painstakingly through roll after 
roll. If the name is a common one, it may be duplicated, 
which creates the problem for the searcher of deciding which 
of the men is the one he wants. Then there is always the 
possibility that the name of the man wanted is on one of the 
missing rolls. 

In the case of officers, there is additional information to be 
found. The file of "Acceptances" gives the age, birthplace and 
the place where the officer was at the time of his acceptance 
of the appointment. "Orders and Resignations" and "Honor- 
able Discharges" give officers' addresses while "ZB" file gives 
further information about prominent officers. 

The records of enlisted men after 1846 are in the custody 
of The National Archives. These records give the age, birth- 
place and next of kin to the man enlisting and with this in- 
formation the search can generally be completed. 

Marine Corps Records 

The American or Continental Marines were established by 
the Act of 10 November 1775, the present United States 
Marine Corps was established by the Act of 11 July 1798. The 
Historical Division, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, was 
established in September 1919, for the purpose of servicing 
the archives and writing a history of the Corps. 

The original records of the Marines are no better than those 
of the Navy, but the Historical Division has collected a great 
deal of material from printed books, manuscripts and state 


records which are on file at this division. On these cards 
are many names which are not on the original rolls that have 
been preserved. These records include only those who served 
in the American Revolution. 

Enlistment records from 1798 to and including 30 December 
1895 are on file at The National Archives. Records from that 
date are on file at Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps. 

Coast Guard Records 

This organization was established in 1915, from the former 
Revenue Cutter Service and later the Light House Service was 
taken over by them. The personnel records from 1915 are 
on file at their Headquarters in Washington. 

The Revenue Cutter Service was founded in 1790, and had 
various names, but no statutory designation. Incomplete rec- 
ords of officers from 1792 to 1914 and muster rolls from 
1833 to 1914 are on file at The National Archives, where are 
also personnel records of those in the Light House Service. 
These records have never been carded or indexed, and unless 
one knows the name of the vessel on which the man served, 
only searching roll after roll will produce the wanted result. 
This, of course, cannot be done by those in charge of the rec- 
ords but must be done by personal search or by a profes- 
sional searcher. The National Archives has a list of searchers 
which they will send upon request. 

Registrations of American Citizens Abroad 

An order of 1906 required each consular post to maintain a 
record book for the registration of American citizens who 
were temporarily domiciled abroad. Each page consisted of 
a form to be filled out by an applicant. It provided spaces for 
such information as to the name of the citizen, the date and 
place of his birth, the identification of his wife, and the names, 
and dates and places of birth of his children. Each record 
book was provided with an index. 

Registration books prior to 1935 for the most part are 
deposited in The National Archives, Washington, D. C. 

Records of a foreign post now in The National Archives oc- 


casionally include an informal register of American residents 
made by the consul prior to 1907. 

Passport Applications 

Passport applications are documents addressed to appro- 
priate civil authorities requesting the privilege of traveling. 
Prior to the Revolution some of the colonies issued such docu- 
ments permitting travel into other colonies and elsewhere. 
After the Revolution some states and other local agencies is- 
sued similar permissions in certain types of cases. Georgia 
was one state that, in view of various arrangements with in- 
tervening Indian Nations, issued documents authorizing the 
bearer to pass through such lands for travel into areas claimed 
by it that extended westward to the Mississippi River and in 
the Floridas. Extant for the years 1785-1820, many of the 
earlier ones have been abstracted by Mrs. Mary G. Bryan, and 
published by the National Genealogical Society under the title, 
Passports Issued by Governors of Georgia, 1785 to 1809, as its 
Special Publication No. 21. To a considerable extent they are 
in the form of testimonials as to the identity and character of 
applicants. They are particularly useful in a study of pio- 
neers who settled in the area that became Alabama, Missis- 
sippi and Louisiana. 

Passport applications received by the Department of State 
begin about 1791 and are deposited in The National Archives, 
Washington 25, D. C., down through the years 1905. Initially, 
a passport application was simply a letter containing a mini- 
mum of family information. After the passage of a few 
decades, passport applications were filled-out forms. As time 
progressed these forms required more and more data. They 
show such details as the name of the applicant, his age, or date 
of birth, the place of his residence, and a personal description. 
If the applicant was a naturalized citizen, it shows the date 
and port of arrival in the United States and the Court in 
which naturalization records were filed. There are rough 
indexes for the period 1834-59, card indexes 1860-80, and book 
indexes 1881-1905. 

Passports were normally not required by the United States 


during the 19th century for foreign travel except during the 
Civil War. Persons of quality commonly requested them for 
the added protection they might afford. Naturalized citizens 
returning to their homelands normally applied for them partic- 
ularly when their homelands were in central European 
countries where adult males might otherwise be subject to 
compulsory military service. 

Passenger Lists 

A passenger list is a document identifying persons who 
travel by ship. Such lists are of especial interest to Americans 
in so far as they identify founders of American families who 
came to this country from Europe during the 17th, 18th, and 
19th centuries. 

Early passenger lists are almost entirely government rec- 
ords rather than records of ship companies. Information in 
the list varies considerably depending upon the laws under 
which they were created, upon local custom, or upon the idio- 
syncrasies of ship captains who were required to make them. 
A list shows such information as the name of the vessel that 
transported the passengers, the name of its captain, the date 
and port of its arrival, the name of the port of embarkation, 
and sometimes the date of embarkation. It also showed the 
name of each adult male passenger; or, more often, the name, 
age, and occupation of each passenger. 

Some passenger lists relate to emigration from a specific 
foreign port. Other lists relate to immigrants coming to a 
specific American port. Official lists were not prepared for 
all passenger vessels; and, in certain instances, where lists 
were prepared, they were not permanently retained. It is, 
therefore, important to know something about what lists have 
been preserved, and what lists are printed. 

The British, French, Spanish, and certain German govern- 
ments maintained records of outgoing passengers. Most of 
the British passenger lists down to the 1890s, however, have 
been destroyed. Certain 17th century lists, particularly for 
the years 1634 and 1G35, were published by John Camden 
Hotten, The Original Lists of Persons of Quality . . . (London, 


1874) . (Some British passenger lists for a few specified later 
years are extant and have been published. These lists are for 
1775-77 (England only), 1774-76 (Scotland only), and 1803- 

Many of the French were Huguenots who embarked from 
ports outside France secretly in ships that maintained no lists. 
Some lists of Catholic French who migrated to Louisiana dur- 
ing the years 1718-23 have been preserved. Transcripts in 
the Louisiana Historical Society for the years 1719-20 have 
been printed in issues of the Louisiana Historical Quarterly 
between vol. 14, p. 516, and vol. 21, p. 978. The Spanish 
maintained excellent records of passengers who migrated from 
Spain between 1509 and 1790. They relate to passengers en 
route for the Indies (including Florida and Louisiana, which 
for a time were under Spanish sovereignty). These records 
are particularly detailed for they show places of origin. The 
original records are in the Archivo de Indias, Seville, Spain. 
Those for 1509-59 were published between 1940 and 1946 in 
three volumes, entitled Catalogo de pasajeros a Indias durante 
los siglos XVI, XVII, XVIII, under the direction of the 
Archivo General de Indias. 

During our colonial period, the regulations governing emi- 
gration in eastern and northern German states were severe 
and greatly restricted. Persons from Germanic areas emi- 
grated through Dutch coastal ports, but the Netherlands kept 
only a statistical record of the numbers of the persons emi- 
grating. Voluminous lists of passengers who embarked for 
London during 1708 and 1709 are in the Public Record Office, 
London. These lists, which are important because they con- 
tain the names of many who later came to America, were 
transcribed in Walter Allen Knittle's Early Eighteenth Cen- 
tury Palatinate Emigration (1937). Later, Germans emi- 
grated through the German ports of Bremen and Hamburg. 
Extensive Hamburg lists dated 1840-1873 are very detailed 
for the period 1850-73. Microfilm copies of the Hamburg lists 
1850-73, and rough indexes to them are in the Division of 
Manuscripts, Library of Congress, Washington 25, D. C. 


Those from 1850 on are particularly detailed and show infor- 
mation about places of origin. 

American colonial officials normally did not keep records of 
incoming passengers. There are some exceptions, and the 
best illustration is for the port of Philadelphia. There, under 
legislation effective in 1727, ship captains were required to 
make lists of alien passengers. The great majority of these 
alien passengers, of course, were of Germanic origin. These 
lists have been carefully transcribed by William John Hinke 
and published in: Ralph Beaver Strassburger, Pennsylvania 
German Pioneers: A Publication of the Original Lists of Ar- 
rivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808 . . . ed. 
by William John Hinke, Norristown, Penna., 1934, 3 vols. 
(Also published as vols. 42-44 of the Proceedings of the Penn- 
sylvania German Society.) 

With minor exceptions which have been noted in vol 102, pp. 
203-5, of the New England Historical and Genealogical Reg- 
ister, Federal records of incoming passengers do not ante- 
date 1820. Practically all extant 19th Century Federal pas- 
senger lists or microfilms thereof are in The National Ar- 
chives, Washington, D. C. These lists invariably show the 
name of each passenger, the date and port of arrival of the 
vessel, and the name of the port of embarkation. They are 
very voluminous. As many as 300,000 people arrived in a 
single year before the Civil War. Although most of the pas- 
sengers arrived through the port of New York, the ports of 
Boston, New Orleans, and Philadelphia received many loads of 
passengers. Indexes are incomplete, defective or non-existent 
except for lists for the ports of Baltimore and Philadelphia. 
Because of the volume of the lists, their fragile nature, and the 
inadequacy of extant indexes, searches in the original records 
are no longer permitted. The lists are in the process, however, 
of being microfilmed. At the time of writing, microfilm rolls 
covering most of the New York and New Orleans lists are 
available for consultation and may be purchased. 

Practically no passenger lists of persons arriving by way of 
Pacific Coast ports or the Great Lakes are extant for the 18th 
century. It might be added that there is similarly lack of 


record of entrances of persons by land from Mexico and 

Because of the incompleteness of the passenger lists, many 
other records relating to our immigrant ancestors have been 
sought for to aid us in determining approximated dates of ar- 
rival. Such records include license to pass overseas, naturali- 
zation records, emigration tax records, records of indentured 
servants, land records, and church records. 

Some licenses to pass overseas have been included in John 
Camden Hotten's The Original Lists of Persons of Quality . . . 
(London 1874). Perhaps the best publication dealing with 
18th century colonial naturalization (of non-British subjects) 
is M. S. Giuseppi, ed., "Naturalizations of Foreign Protestants 
in the American Colonies Pursuant to Statute 13 George II, C. 
7," The Publications of the Huguenot Society of London, Man- 
chester, 1921, vol. 24. An excellent book describing emigra- 
tion tax records relates to Switzerland : Albert Bernhardt 
Faust, Lists of Siviss Emigrants in the Eighteenth Century 
to the American Colonies . . . Washington, D. C, 1920-25, 2 
vols. Lists of indentured persons who embarked from the 
British port of Bristol are named in R. S. Glover's Bristol And 
America; A Record of the First Settlers in the Colonies of 
North America 1654-1685, London (1929?). 

Important lists of indentured persons who came to this 
country from the London area are extant, but for the most 
part they are unpublished. Some colonies gave away land in 
return for an individual bringing over settlers and the settlers 
were often named. The best printed example of lists of early 
come-overers from land records is Nell Marion Nugent's 
Cavaliers and Pioneers, A Calendar of Virginia Land Grants, 
1623-1666, Richmond, 1934. The archivist at Speyer, Ger- 
many prepared a book identifying a number of 18th century 
Germans whose plan to migrate was recorded in local church 
records. 4 

An excellent bibliography of passenger lists is Adlore Har- 
old Lancour's Passenger Lists of Ships Coming to North 

4 Emigrants from the Palatinate to the American Colonies in the Eigh- 
teenth Century. (1953) 


America, 1607-1825, A Bibliography . . . New York Public 
Library Bulletin, vol. 41, No. 5, May, 1937. Reprints of this 
bulletin are reportedly out of print. 
Original "Grants" 

Records describing actions that affect the title to land fall in- 
to two basic categories. One category relates to land initially 
alienated by the government or sovereign. Such records are 
records of entry. They are normally filed with the Colony, 
State, or Federal Government. The other category relates 
to land after it has been alienated by the sovereign. Such rec- 
ords are local land records. They are normally filed in the 
county courthouses but in the case of some New England 
states they are filed in the offices of the town clerks. 

Records of Entry 

In colonial times, provincial and other governments distrib- 
uted land to individuals under many varying conditions. 
Some land was given away to actual settlers, or in return for 
military service or for bringing over persons from Europe; 
some land was sold. 

The proprietary governments, Pennsylvania and Maryland, 
and some of the other colonies, maintained central land offices 
where all initial transfers were recorded. 

The documents relating to such transfers of land are some- 
times divided into three groups: The warrant or right to a 
specific number of acres in an unspecified location ; the survey 
or map showing the exact location of the land to be trans- 
ferred ; and the patent or grant. 

The Maryland records of entry are particularly interesting 
because each patentee was given the opportunity to select a 
name for a tract of land, and in the case of early settlers, one 
sometimes obtains a clue as to the settler's place of origin. 

Occasionally, efforts have been made to reconstruct the 
patentees in a particular county. For example, a series of 
maps in Vol. Ill of the Horn Papers (the first two volumes are 
not recommended for use") identifies each original patentee in 

See William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Series, vol. 4, pp. 409, 428, 444. 


Washington County, Pennsylvania, shows where his land was 
located, how many acres it contained, and when it was ac- 
quired. There is a master index of names. 

In the thirteen original states and the states carved im- 
mediately from them — Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, Ken- 
tucky, Tennessee — the records of the original grant or distri- 
bution of the land are in the states or local divisions thereof. 

Records of entry for the other states in the United States 
(exclusive of Texas which maintains its own entry records) 
concern public domain. They are Federal records deposited 
in Washington. The papers relating to cash entry, credit 
entry, homestead application, Oregon and Washington do- 
nations ; bound land entry ; and private land claims are in The 
National Archives. Of particular interest are the homestead 
application files and private land claims. The homestead ap- 
plication files were created by an Act of Congress of 1862, 
under the tenure of which 160 acre tracts were given to mil- 
lions of persons who satisfied certain conditions of tenure and 
development. The private land claims relate to land formerly 
claimed by Great Britain, France, Spain and Mexico; and 
located in the Northwest Territory, Louisiana Territory, Miss- 
issippi Territory, Florida, Orleans Territory, Missouri Terri- 
tory, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and California. 

The land entry papers in The National Archives are dated 
chiefly 1800-1950. Those dated before 1 July 1908 are un- 
indexed or partially indexed. It is usually necessary, there- 
fore, to have a description of the land in terms of sub-division, 
section, township, and range before an effective search in the 
records can be made. Such information can sometimes be ob- 
tained from the clerk of the court in the county where the 
land was located. 

The record copies of patents to the land in the public domain 
are in patent books deposited in the Bureau of Land Manage- 
ment, Washington 25, D. C. 

Local Records 

The local land records are normally filed in the office of the 
Recorder of Deeds or similar custodian in the county court- 


houses. In some New England states, such as Connecticut and 
Rhode Island, the local land records are filed in the towns. In 
some other states, such as Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, 
North and South Carolina and Georgia, certain early land rec- 
ords or microfilm copies of them have been deposited in the 
State Archival Depository. 

The nature and method of filing these records and the 
amount of genealogical detail vary considerably, but there are 
certain principles that are generally characteristic. 

The records, copied from the original instruments in private 
hands, are in folio size bound volumes, called libers. The indi- 
vidual instruments are copied chronologically into a long series 
of libers. Usually, the recording is shortly after the comple- 
tion of a transaction, but occasionally instruments are re- 
corded years later (and many instruments are never recorded 
at all) . 

There are often two series of bound volumes that serve as 
indexes. Entries in one series are arranged by name of 
grantor or seller. Entries in the other series are arranged 
by name of grantee or buyer. Entries in each series are nor- 
mally arranged alphabetically to the first letter of the sur- 
name, thereunder to the first letter of the given name. 
Searches, therefore, are sometimes difficult unless the full 
name of the individual and an approximate date are known. 

Local land records are very useful genealogically. Some 
show the date when a person first came to a county and the 
name and state of the county from which he came. When land 
is divided among the heirs of a decedent information often 
appears as to the names of all the children, the places of 
their residence, and the names of the husbands of the married 

When a married man sells property, his wife (except in 
early days in South Carolina) joins in the transaction or re- 
leases her dower rights, so her given name appears. In some 
colonies and sometimes in the states, this information is not 
recorded in the deed book but is in the County Court Minutes. 


By noting the date the deed was proved before the court, the 
entry can readily be located in the court minutes. 

Some instruments recite how the grantors acquired a tract 
and actually trace a generation or more of ancestors. 

Probate Records 

One of the most important documents used by genealogists 
in reconstructing families is "the last will and testament" of a 
deceased person. This is the instrument whereby the testator 
(the person making the will) distributes his real and personal 
estate among members of his family and friends, to take effect 
after his death. Strictly speaking, the term "will" denotes 
a document which disposes of real estate, while the "testa- 
ment" is a document which disposes of personal property. 

Many wills are valuable for the light they throw on families. 
A man may be precise in naming his wife, children, grand- 
children, and even his collateral relatives. Unmarried and 
childless men often name their brothers and sisters, uncles, 
aunts, and cousins. But sometimes wills are keenly disap- 
pointing, for the testators give exasperatingly few details con- 
cerning their kinship with their beneficiaries. When this hap- 
pens, it is necessary to dig into other sources for the desired 
information about a given family. 

There are two types of wills, namely: The written will, 
signed by the testator and witnessed by two or three persons 
(the number varies according to the laws of the different 
states), and the nuncupative will, which is a verbal statement 
(made in the presence of witnesses) concerning the disposi- 
tion of property after the testator's death. When a person 
dies leaving a will, he is said to have died testate. If he does 
not leave a will, he is then said to have died intestate. 

After the testator's death the executor or executors (the 
persons named in the will to settle the decedent's estate) go 
before the court in their locality to "prove" (probate) the will. 
The witnesses appear before the court to testify that the will 
was signed in their presence. In the case of a nuncupative 
will the witnesses testify concerning the oral statement made 
to them about the decedent's testamentary intentions. Letters 


testamentary are then granted authorizing the executors to 
proceed with the task of distributing the property in ac- 
cordance with the testators wishes. 

In intestate cases, the court appoints a person to serve as 
administrator to distribute the property among the heirs at 
law according to the intestate laws of the state where the 
decedent resided. 

A whole series of documents make up the group of rec- 
ords known as probate records. These include, besides the 
will itself, the petition for probate of will, the petition for 
letters of administration if there is no will, letters testamen- 
tary granted by the court to the executors appointed to carry 
out the testator's wishes, letters of administration granted to 
the court-appointed administrators when no will has been 
executed, inventories and appraisements of the personal es- 
tates of the decedents, affidavits, etc. Copies of wills are 
usually entered in record volumes in the custody of the county 
court houses. 

The courts having jurisdiction over probate matters bear 
different names in different states. Thus, Alabama and Ar- 
kansas have Probate Courts, New York and New Jersey Sur- 
rogate's Courts, and a number of states have placed probate 
matters in the hands of Superior or Circuit Courts. Conn- 
ecticut and Vermont are divided into Probate Districts, al- 
though in the case of Connecticut most of the original probate 
records have been deposited with the State Library at Hart- 
ford. Cities such as New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore 
have Registers of Wills. In Pennsylvania and a few other 
states the Orphans' Court is devoted largely to probate mat- 
ters; the clerk of the Orphans' Court is called the prothono- 

A quick and convenient reference for determining the 
proper name of the courts in our states is contained in Noel 
C. Stevenson's Search and Research: The Researcher 's Hand- 
book, Revised Edition, 1959. The states are arranged alpha- 
betically in this work. In each state appears the heading, "Of- 
ficial Records", and under the sub-heading, "Court Records", 
the name of that state's court for handling probate matters 


(Probate, Surrogate, Superior, Circuit, etc.) is given. 

For more extensive information on probate matters, the 
reader is referred to Stevenson's Search and Research, pp. 
30-31 ; Donald Lines Jacobus, "Probate Law and Customs", 
The American Genealogist, vol. 9, July 1932, pp. 4 ff. (re- 
printed in The Genealogical Reader, edited by Noel C. Steven- 
son, 1958, pp. 61-67) ; Derek Harland, A Basic Course in 
Genealogy, vol. 2, Research Procedure and, Evaluation of Evi- 
dence (1958), pp. 272-301; Gilbert Harry Doane, Searching 
for Your Ancestors (3rd printing, 1957), pp. 84-94; and E. 
Kay Kirkham, The ABC's of American Genealogical Research 
(1955), pp. 38-42. 


In this section we will examine the records provided by 
religious groups, societies, and other non-governmental organ- 
izations. These can roughly be broken down into the follow- 
ing classifications. 

1. Church records 

2. Cemetery records and inscriptions 

3. Educational institutions 

4. Societies and fraternal organizations 

Church Records 

The records of religious groups vary considerably, both with 
denomination and the type of person or persons maintaining 
the records. Generally speaking, they provide the following 
types of information : 

(a) Dates of baptism, often with names of parents, some- 
times with names of sponsors and witnesses, sometimes in- 
cluding date and place of birth. 

(b) Dates of marriage, sometimes including names of 
parents (especially in the cases of marriages of young per- 
sons). Witnesses are sometimes named. 

(c) Dates of burial, sometimes including date of death. 
(Some such records include a short genealogical sketch of the 


(d) Date of confirmation, or of admission or acceptance to 
the church, or date of dismissal to another parish. (Such rec- 
ords frequently show prior affiliations and residence in case 
of admissions, and the destination in the case of dismissals.) 

(e) Record of church activities, such as punishments of 
individuals for infractions of church rules, names of delegates 
to various meetings, church officers, etc. 

There is little doubt that if the records of all the religious 
groups of Colonial America were available today the great 
majority of our genealogical problems would be solved. But 
many have been lost or destroyed through fire, war or other 
causes, and others were written so badly or were so poorly 
cared for as to be almost illegible. Even so, a wealth of this 
material is available to the searcher, much of it in the hands 
of active church organizations, some in the keeping of histori- 
cal societies, or in private hands. 

The records kept by the Quakers and the Lutherans are, 
generally speaking, the most complete. The Lutheran burial 
records often give the names of the parents of the decedent, 
marital history and much information about children. The 
Quakers recorded births rather than baptisms and were much 
concerned with church government. Their records of admis- 
sions and dismissals are very useful in following the travels 
of the early colonists and often tie them in directly with their 
British forebears. 

The Baptists, from their habit of baptizing adults, only 
rarely give parentage of those baptized. Their records are 
perhaps the least useful of all the early church records. 

In seeking the original church records, try first the pastor 
of the church, or the congregational officials, if the church is 
still in operation. These people will usually have these rec- 
ords, or know where they may be found. 6 

Records of inactive or defunct congregations should be 

6 Check List of Historical Records Survey Publications, by Sargent B. 
Child and Dorothy P. Holmes, contains "List of Church Archives Publi- 
cations" and "Church Directories". Although not all states nor all 
denominations are covered, it may be helpful. 


sought first at the local or nearest historical society. If no 
trace of the records is found, apply to the central governing 
body of the denomination. Most church bodies maintain an 
historical section or society which acts as a depository of the 
records of deceased congregations, and frequently also holds 
the old records of active ones. The Presbyterians and the 
Baptists, for instance, maintain excellent historical libraries 
in the Philadelphia area where their records may be examined 
and assistance may be given the searcher. 

Sometimes very old church records are in the hands of the 
municipal authorities or library. This situation is found 
where in the early town only one denomination was acceptable 
and the church was active in the local government. 

The accuracy of church records as a rule ranks high. 
Where conflict is discovered, the church record usually has the 
highest incidence of reliability. In general, entries are made 
by the minister himself as events occur or as they become 
known to him. Gaps in the old records occur during periods 
of absence of the minister or at times when no minister was 
available to fill the charge. On the minister's return or the 
appointment of a new one, an effort was sometimes made to 
bring the records up-to-date. And at this point, errors are 
more likely to creep in than at other times. 

Although many church records, especially old ones, have 
been printed in recent years, it is well to remember that mis- 
reading a name or date may alter completely the genealogical 
picture. Therefore, the original records should be checked 
where absolute accuracy is desired. This is especially true of 
foreign language records and of the very old ones. 

Cemetery Records and Inscriptions 

Graveyard prowling has been a genealogical pastime for 
generations. The amateur and professional alike know that 
valuable data is given on old tombstones which may not be 
recorded elsewhere. Where church burial records and muni- 
cipal death records have been lost or destroyed, the cemetery 
often provides the only source of this information. 

Tombstones themselves may yield, in addition to the year of 


death (the most brief type of inscription), the day and even 
the hour. They may give, in the case of women, her hus- 
band's name (sometimes even the name of a former husband). 
The names of parents may appear in a child's inscription. 
The association of the grave with others may be very useful 
knowledge since a family will usually bury its dead together. 

Not usually appreciated is the information that may be 
obtained from the cemetery office. The name of the purchaser 
of the lot may be shown (and perhaps present owner and 
relationship), together with records of payment for upkeep, 
and who made the payments. These are often important in 
determining relationships. In addition, the office will have a 
complete record of burials, showing the location of each grave, 
and the dates. This is a very important file because of the 
(contrary to common belief) perishable nature of gravestones. 
Some may have become illegible; others were perhaps up- 
rooted or destroyed. 

There are many "lost" cemeteries which have been bought 
up and plowed under, or where roads have been put through. 
The tombstones in these cases will have been pulled up and 
destroyed, but sometimes the records of the cemetery or copies 
of the inscriptions have found their way into historical col- 
lections where they are available to the searcher. 

In seeking the grave of your subject, first determine ap- 
proximately when he died. The local historical society usu- 
ally can tell you which cemeteries were in use at that time. 
Check first those which were allied with your subject's re- 
ligious persuasion, and then try the private graveyards. Un- 
fortunately, some religious groups do not believe in marked 
graves (Quaker grave markers, for example, are often very 
simple and brief), and in such cases inscriptions will be lack- 

Accept dates from gravestones with caution. Stone cut- 
ters, like clerks, can and do make mistakes. In the early days 
of our country, stones were very expensive and so a stone 
would be erected even when it displayed easily recognizable 
errors, rather than destroy the stone and get a new one. Ad- 
ditional errors creep in when a new stone is erected to replace 


an old, worn one or erected on an unmarked grave or a grave 
marked with a wooden marker. Frequently the dates on 
these new stones were supplied from memory. 

This does not mean that where the dates on tombstones vary 
from those obtained elsewhere, the gravestone is always 
wrong. In the case of John Fifield and Phebe Frye, his wife, 
buried at Menotomy, Oxford County, Maine, the town records 
have the death dates of both confused, and the tombstone dates 
are correct. A critical searcher will look for supporting evi- 
dence before he states that one source is right and another 

Educational Institutions 

Schools and colleges have existed in the Americas as long as 
have the early settlers and their descendants. Frequently, in 
the administration of early estates, we come upon records of 
expense for schooling, or for school clothes or supplies. Since 
the schools that the children attended were often community 
supported or church supported, the records of their school 
boards and of their attendance are frequently kept with a full- 
ness most satisying to a genealogist. 

Among the earlier schools in the colonies, to name but a few, 
were the Boston Latin School, Boston; the Roxbury Latin 
School, Roxbury; the William Penn Charter School, Philadel- 
phia; the Public School of Germantown (now Germantown 
Academy) in Germantown. Many of the records of the early 
schools are still in existence and may be searched to determine 
parentage, for the records usually show who are the parents 
or foster parents of a student, and his address. 

The colleges and universities also provide a source of infor- 
mation, though often not as complete as the school records. 
Among the older colleges are found, of course, Harvard, Wil- 
liam and Mary, Yale and Dartmouth. Their yearbooks and 
enrollment records are easily searched and may provide valu- 
able information. 

In using school or college records, the following procedure of 
search is recommended : 


(a) If possible, determine the general location of residence of the 

(b) If possible, determine subject's religious background. 

(c) Check against best local history of the area to determine which 
schools were in existence at that time. 

(d) Check first the records of the nearest schools of the correct re- 
ligious persuasion, then all other school records, starting with nearest 
and continuing to most distant in the area. 

(e) If schools are indicated which are now extinct, try for their rec- 
ords at (1) the nearest headquarters of the religious order that 
sponsored the school, (2) the state archives or collection of historical rec- 
ords (especially if community sponsored), (3) the historical society of 
that state, (4) The National Archives or other department of the U. S. 
Government in Washington. 

Reference works to assist in locating appropriate schools 
or colleges for study are : Patterson's American Educational 
Dictionary (especially good for schools), Carter V. Good's 
Guide to Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools in the 
United States and, most recent, Marsh's American Colleges 
and Universities. 

Societies and Fraternal Organizations 

Few investigators realize the amount of genealogical 
material available to them in the archives of societies, frater- 
nal organizations and sometimes even in clubs. Yet, most 
such organizations maintain membership records that include 
some or all of the following items : 

Name of member and place and date of joining; date and 
place of birth; places of residence; names of children, and 
sometimes birth dates ; names of wives and parents ; religious 
and other affiliations; education; business; personal descrip- 
tions ; photographs. 

Patriotic societies (lists available in any state historical 
society), in addition, maintain records of descent from an im- 
portant ancestor. 

Some of the older organizations of a strictly fraternal 
nature having such records are the Masons, Shrine, Odd Fel- 
lows, Knights of Columbus, Elks, Moose. Clubs which main- 


tain partial records, frequently of use to searchers are the 
Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, and others. 

If you have indication that your subject was a member of 
any social organization, it will frequently repay you to get in 
touch with the local secretary of the organization to ascertain 
which records they have concerning him. In one instance, it 
was possible to locate the birth place of a man who came from 
England to the United States through the records concerning 
him in the archives of the Odd Fellows. 

In the last few years the rise in importance of the pro- 
fessional societies, including such organizations as the Ameri- 
can Chemical Society, American Society of Mechancal Engi- 
neers, and so on, have opened up new sources of information 
for the genealogists of the next generation. 

Greek letter fraternities, especially college fraternities, 
also provide good records. The fraternity system in the 
United States stems basically from Phi Beta Kappa, whose 
records go back to the year 1776. The oldest of the living 
social college fraternities is the Kappa Alpha Society, which 
dates from 1825 at Union College, New York. 

Since fraternities are careful to follow "legacies", that is, 
children of members, to consider them for membership, it will 
be obvious that good membership lists will be maintained. It 
is a talking point that "so-and-so" is the son of a member, 
brother-in-law of another member, has two cousins who are 
members and a son who is a member. One frequently notes 
such statements and they are usually documented with places, 
dates and names. 

The best book for the study of the fraternity system is 
Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities. In addi- 
tion to showing the list of active fraternities, those inactive 
are also listed. Colleges where they are represented are also 
shown, and an index of colleges shows what fraternities are or 
were in existence at the college in question. 

Suppose the person under investigation was known to have 
attended Princeton University in 1850. We turn to Baird's 
Manual, p. 702 (1930 edition), and note that the following 


fraternities were in existence at Princeton in that year : Delta 
Kappa Epsilon and Zeta Psi. In addition, Delta Psi and Chi 
Phi were there the following year, and Kappa Alpha in 1852. 
We may now write to the secretaries of these fraternities 
and ask them to examine their records for our man. If they 
find him, they will probably be able to advise us where he 
lived, perhaps also his birth and death dates, possibly his mar- 
riage record and the names of his parents and children. 

Among the effects of a person under investigation, you may 
find a fraternity pin. Recourse to Baird's Manual, then to 
the secretary of that fraternity will show at once where he 
joined, and probably his school, age, and place of residence. 
The rest may follow directly or indirectly from that infor- 

To obtain the records of extinct fraternities is difficult, but 
not always impossible. First, the searcher should get in touch 
with the National Interfraternity Conference. (See the latest 
issue of Baird's Manual.) The secretary may be able to 
advise the location of the records, or if not, may be able to put 
the searcher in touch with a member who knows their where- 
abouts. If this source fails, reference to Baird will indicate 
the location of chapters of the fraternity, and reference to 
yearbooks of the colleges where it was represented will pro- 
vide the names of members, from which names the search may 
be continued. 

The same methods as noted above apply to searches in the 
records of other fraternal orders and clubs. 

The University Clubs require college education for member- 
ship. Their membership lists and records will be sure to 
yield the educational background of your subject if he is a 

It should also be noted that the rise of women's organiza- 
tions (including sororities) is providing similar records for 
the genealogists of the future to use in the search of maternal 
lines. Since name changes will show in these records, they 
may prove invaluable for proof of marriages. 




Many historical and genealogical societies possess collections 
of family records and notes assembled by various genealogists. 
For instance, the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania in Phil- 
adelphia has the vast collections of Gilbert Cope, William M. 
Mervine, and May Atherton Leach, all valuable for students 
of Pennsylvania family history. One of the prized collections 
of the New Jersey Historical Society at Newark is the tremen- 
dous amount of material relating to families of that state 
gathered together during a long lifetime of research by 
Charles Carroll Gardner, F. A. S. G. In Washington, the 
National Genealogical Society owns the genealogical papers 
of Robert Atwater Smith (New England families), Florence 
Bridges Culver (Maryland and Virginia), and Gaius M. Brum- 
baugh (Revolutionary War records, tax lists, Bible records, 
probate records, etc., relating chiefly to Pennsylvania, Mary- 
land, and Virginia). Such collections are valuable for the re- 
searcher, because the compilers have pulled together from a 
variety of sources information which could be obtained by 
other interested persons only after long and arduous searches 
in many states and communities. It should be remembered, 
however, that no one is infallible, and even the best gene- 
alogists make mistakes and misinterpret records. It is al- 
ways preferable, whenever one has the opportunity, to exam- 
ine the primary sources for oneself. But collections such 
as those mentioned above frequently provide short cuts in 
genealogical research. 

In addition to collections of genealogies, historical and gene- 
alogical societies and state libraries have assembled other 
manuscript materials of value for the researcher. The Vir- 
ginia State Library at Richmond, Virginia, has transcripts of 
many church registers in that state.. The Library of the 
National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution 


has copies of tombstone records, vital statistics, Bible records, 
church registers, etc., made by D. A. R. chapters all over the 
country and sent to their national headquarters in Washing- 
ton. The Manuscripts Department of the Historical Society of 
Pennsylvania owns such family archives as the Pemberton 
Papers, to mention one of many; it also has part of Gilbert 
Cope's tremendous collection of historical and genealogical 
papers, the other part being in the Genealogical Society of 
Pennsylvania. A wealth of information awaits the researcher 
who ferrets out the repositories that contain records of his 
areas of interest. 

Printed Materials 

The printed works frequently used by genealogists are 
family histories, collected genealogies, source materials, and 
local histories : 

Family Histories. — Family histories vary in quality. Don- 
ald Lines Jacobus has commented in one of his articles that 
such histories "are in general the least trustworthy sources for 
establishing lines of descent". A published genealogy is based 
on many sources, such as primary records (wills, deeds, 
pensions, church registers, etc.), the memory (sometimes 
faulty) of various members of the family, and printed books 
which may or may not have been carefully compiled. Some 
books, such as Moon's The Morris Family of Philadelphia (5 
vols., 1898-1909), Ferris' Dawes-Gates Ancestral Lines 
(1931), French's Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas 
French (2 vols., 1909), Jacobus' Hale, House, and Related 
Families (1952), Davis's The Ancestry of Mary Isaac (1955), 
and Holman's Descendants of Samuel Hills (1957) , are models 
of painstaking genealogical research and careful compilation. 

Many works, unfortunately, are not worth the paper on 
which they are printed. They are carelessly done, their com- 
pilers being untrained and inexperienced in methods of gene- 
alogical research and presentation. Such persons often ar- 
rived at erroneous conclusions as, for instance, the Ritten- 
house genealogy of 1893 in which the origin of that famous 
Pennsylvania family was falsely deduced from the noble von 


Rittershausen family and earlier from the Imperial House of 
Habsburg, and the slender book on the Haines family of Bur- 
lington County, New Jersey, in which it was claimed that the 
founder, Richard Haines, was a grandson of Governor John 
Haynes, of Connecticut and his wife, Mabel Harlakenden — 
which, if it were true, would mean that Mabel was only about 
21 years old when her alleged grandson was born! Other 
cases could be cited to demonstrate that one must be careful 
in weighing printed statements. A useful little manual, Is 
That Lineage Right?, put out in 1958 by the National Society 
Daughters of the American Revolution, succinctly expresses 
it (p. 19) : "In evaluating a genealogy, certain criteria may 
be considered: (1) the author's reputation as a careful and 
critical genealogist, and (2) the attention paid by the com- 
piler to source materials, at least for the early generations". 

Collected Genealogies. — This type of genealogical litera- 
ture, illustrated by Mackenzie's Colonial Families of the United 
States (7 vols.), Jordan's Colonial and Revolutionary Families 
of Pennsylvania (19 volumes to date), Lee's Genealogical and 
Memorial History of the State of New Jersey (4 vols.), and 
Virkus's The Compendium of American Genealogy (7 vols.), 
are based on information provided by members of the fami- 
lies discussed in those works. Consequently, many errors and 
false assumptions are perpetuated; the data must be verified 
by an independent investigation. As in the case of family 
histories, they are useful for providing clues for further 

Source Materials. — Printed source materials are valuable 
for the researcher who cannot afford to travel long distances 
for the purpose of personally examining court records, wills, 
deeds, marriage records, etc., in the places where his family 
lived. Their value depends, of course, on the accuracy with 
which the records have been transcribed, and the copyist's 
knowledge of the handwriting of the period in which he is 
working. Due allowance must also be made for typographical 
errors made while the books are in the press. 

Local Histories. — Printed histories of states, counties, and 


localities often contain much genealogical information. But 
here a word of caution again must be given, for they, too, vary 
in quality. Many local histories indulge in eulogies of the 
families discussed, and errors are frequently made with re- 
spect to early generations. Local histories published prior to 
1885 are generally accurate for the family history of the Rev- 
olutionary and post-Revolutionary period ; they are based, for 
the most part, on statements made by members of the family 
who had knowledge of the persons and events of the period. 

Other Printed Materials. 3 — Reference works, newspapers, 
and directories are other important published materials fre- 
quently used in genealogical research. Reference works in- 
clude The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, the 
Dictionary of American Biography, various Who's Who publi- 
cations (Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the Theatre, 
Who's Who Among North American Authors, etc.). The rec- 
ord of the arts is not so well defined but biographical studies 
of artists, even of craftsmen, are common, and it would be 
wise to check such records for areas from which the family 
may have come. Similar biographical studies of soldiers and 
other professions are helpful. Such accounts are basically 
laudatory and in many instances the data were furnished by 
the subject or his family. If a searcher knows that his sub- 
ject was closely associated with some man of local prominence, 
it may well pay him to check not only for the biography of his 
subject, but for a biography of that associate who may have 
been a boyhood friend. The Library of Congress, State li- 
braries, historical societies, and local history sections of larger 
public libraries have created indexes to such materials relat- 
ing to their areas. 

Newspapers, of course, are invaluable for providing infor- 
mation on marriages and deaths ; the older newspapers did not 
contain birth notices. Obituaries are not always accurate, 
even at the present time. For example, a Philadelphian who 
died in 1916 at the age of 56, was described by one newspaper 
as being 53 years old, and by another as being a flattering 48 ; 

1 This paragraph was contributed, in part, by David C. Duniway. 


his only child, a seven-year-old son, was given as seventeen in 
one of the papers, while in the other he was described as the 
decedent's daughter. In general, however, obituaries can be 
relied upon for the basic outlines of the subject's life. 

Directories, such as city, telephone, trade and professional, 
are important for locating families and individuals at certain 
periods of time, and for providing information on their occu- 
pations. In the case of large cities, such as New York and 
Philadelphia, the city directory can often be used for identify- 
ing the wards in which families lived, thus facilitating re- 
searches to be made later in census schedules. 

Part 3 





The economic urge was the dominating factor in the first 
colonization of both Maine and New Hampshire, in distinction 
to the religious impulse which was so powerful in Mass- 
achusetts and the other New England colonies. Merchants 
and ambitious scions of the gentry class obtained large grants 
of land from the Lord Proprietors, and sent over or brought 
with them groups of fishermen and laborers to settle in the 
harbors from the Kennebec to the Piscataqua Valley. Both 
the upper and lower classes were, generally speaking, loyal- 
ist and conformist, and the solid middle class yeomen and arti- 
sans, so important in the Puritan colonies, were largely lack- 
ing. The bulk of these emigrants came from the south- 
western counties of England — Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, 
Somerset. There were, of course, individual and group ex- 
ceptions. The town of Hampton in New Hampshire was 
from the first a typical Puritan settlement, while Exeter was 
the home of exiled Bostonians. By the middle of the 17th 
century, however, the Maine and New Hampshire towns were 
being reinforced by a stream of East Anglian Congrega- 
tionalists from Massachusetts which continued to flow until 
after the Revolutionary War. New Hampshire maintained its 
political identity, but Maine became an integral part of Massa- 
chusetts and so remained until 1820. Against this solid Anglo- 
Saxon 17th century background, a few exotics stand out, a lone 
Greek in New Castle, N. H., a Walloon in York, Maine, a few 
Irish and Jersey boys, probably here against their wills, in the 
Piscataqua towns, and a group of Scotch prisoners, captured 
at the battle of Dunbar, at York. 

In the first quarter of the 18th century, both New Hamp- 
shire and Maine received a strong infusion of blood from the 
Ulster Scots. In New Hampshire, their chief settlement was 
the new town of Londonderry, while in Maine they are found 


in all of the coast towns, with particular emphasis on Wells, 
Falmouth, and the lower reaches of the Kennebec. Colonel 
Waldo's large colony of Germans from the Palatinate, with the 
addition of a group of French Protestants, settled farther to 
the eastward in the 1750's, and after the Revolution a single 
Pole turned up in Pownalborough. The majority of pioneers 
in the newer inland towns of both New Hampshire and Maine 
were, however, of native or Massachusetts stock. This con- 
tinued to be the case until, in the middle years of the 19th 
century, the heavy influx of Irish began, soon followed by 
thousands of French Canadians, to be absorbed in the great 
mills and factories on the power-producing rivers of both 
states. So much for a general statement of racial origins. 

For the 17th century and the greater part of the 18th cen- 
tury, the labors of the genealogist have been made less diffi- 
cult by the great body of original material published by the 
Maine and New Hampshire Historical Societies or under their 
auspices. New Hampshire has led the way with its splendid 
series of Provincial, Town and State Papers, New Hampshire, 
forty volumes to date. All New Hampshire probate records 
from 1635 to 1771 — wills, administrations, inventories and re- 
lated papers — are printed in vols. 31 to 39 of this series. New 
Hampshire was not divided into counties until the Act of 29 
April 1769, when Rockingham, Strafford, Hillsborough, Ches- 
hire and Grafton were created, and all land and probate busi- 
ness was transacted before that date at the provincial capi- 
tol. The lag of two years between 1769 and 1771 was pre- 
sumably due to the time required in setting up county offices 
and officers. Vol. XXXX (sic) of the series contains court 
records (1640-1692) and court papers (1652-1658). The 
original probate and court material from which these volumes 
were transcribed, also all deeds recorded before 1771, are to 
be found in the state archives room at the library of the New 
Hampshire Historical Society in Concord. For land and pro- 
bate business after 1771, the records must be searched at the 
several county seats. 

Present day Maine was York County, Massachusetts, until 
1760, when two new counties — Cumberland and Lincoln — 


were carved from it. York, Cumberland and Lincoln have 
since undergone further subdivision. York Deeds, covering 
the period from 1632 to 1737, have been published verbatim 
in 18 volumes and are of great genealogical value. The li- 
brary of the Maine Historical Society in Portland has micro- 
film carrying the York Deeds to 1860. Maine Wills, printed in 
1887, contains every will proved in the province from 1640 to 
1760, again verbatim. Unfortunately, administrations, in- 
ventories and other probate papers were not included in this 
volume and must be sought at Alfred, the York County seat, 
or on microfilm at the Maine Historical Society in Portland, 
where York Probate records are available to 1860. 

When he edited Lincoln Probate, covering the years 1760 to 
1800, William Davis Patterson wisely included all probate rec- 
ords. Cumberland County has twice seen its county offices 
burned to the ground, first in 1866 and again in 1910, and in 
both fires the probate records were completely destroyed, but 
the record books of the registry of deeds were providentially 
saved. All Maine court records from 1636 to 1711 are in print 
in the four volumes of Province and Court Records of Maine, 
in which will be found much genealogical information. For 
the newer counties, their record offices must be searched for 
deeds, wills and court records. 

The genealogist working on Maine ancestry should remind 
himself often that Maine was not separated from Massachu- 
setts until 1820 and that, therefore, certain classes of records 
must be sought in Boston. The pleadings, depositions and 
documents in evidence in court cases which were appealed 
from the Maine county courts to the Supreme Judicial Court 
of Massachusetts, mounted in scrap books and indexed, are to 
be found in the Suffolk County Court House and often con- 
tain the solution of a difficult problem. Ability to read the old 
handwriting is a requisite. Many, perhaps the majority, of 
the papers in the Massachusetts Archives in the State House 
which deal wholly with Maine have been published, to the year 
1791, in Collections of the Maine Historical Society, Documen- 
tary Series, 24 volumes. The claims made to lands in Maine 
after the Indian Wars by Maine exiles and Massachusetts 


speculators have been printed, possibly only in part, in the 
Maine Historical & Genealogical Recorder. 

Town and church vital records of the 17th century are frag- 
mentary except in a few towns, such as York, Kittery and 
Hampton. Some books were undoubtedly destroyed during 
the Indian Wars (roughly 1675-1677, 1689-1713) when most 
of the Maine towns were deserted, the inhabitants retiring to 
New Hampshire or Massachusetts where, with luck, their 
birth, marriage and death records for the period of their exile 
may be picked up. Even in the 18th century, the average 
standard of recording fell below that of the Massachusetts 
towns, and it continued to fall in the 19th century. Farm- 
house fires have taken an appalling toll of town and church 
records, and in Maine, at any rate, in spite of laws providing 
for their deposit in safes, record books still repose on grocery 
shelves, in farmhouse kitchens and in damp cellars of town 
offices. Maine has made a half-hearted and New Hampshire 
a somewhat more effective effort to gather vital statistics from 
the entire state on cards, alphabetically arranged, at the state 
capitol. New Hampshire births, marriages and deaths from 
the town clerks' records, but not church records, are at the 
bureau of Vital Statistics at the State House, Concord. A 
Maine statute authorizes the publication of vital records in 
accordance with the system which has been so widely used in 
Massachusetts, but the legislature has implemented it with 
appropriations with extreme reluctance. Volumes for Au- 
gusta, Belfast, Bowdoin, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Georgetown, 
Hallowell, Lebanon, Otisfield, Pittston, Randolph, Topsham 
and Winslow have been issued. New Hampshire has officially 
taken no such step, but carefully transcribed and beautifully 
typewritten copies of the town and church vital records of 
many of the towns in the southeastern part of the state, the 
work of Miss Priscilla Hammond, may be found on the shelves 
of the Historical Society and other libraries. Some original 
record books, also, have found their way to the historical 
societies. The New England Historical and Genealogical Reg- 
ister, New Hampshire Genealogical Record, 1903-1909, Ban- 
gor Historical Magazine 1886-1894, and the 9 volumes of 


Maine Historical & Genealogical Recorder, 1884-1898, contain 
the town and church records and gravestone inscriptions of 
many communities of both states, to which the D. A. R. have 
added many transcriptions, typewritten and bound in volumes 
which may be found in the larger genealogical libraries. The 
Maine State Library at Augusta has copies of the Maine sec- 
tion of U. S. Censuses of 1850, 1860, and 1870, and the Maine 
Historical Society those of 1800, 1830, 1850 and part of 1880 
on microfilm, and the New Hampshire Historical Society has 
a manuscript copy of the U. S. Census of 1800. 

Military service by New Hampshire men is admirably 
covered by the Adjutant General's Report for the years 1866 
and 1868 which volumes, unfortunately not indexed, contain 
"The Military History of New Hampshire", including a vast 
collection of Muster Rolls, etc. Neiv Hampshire State Papers, 
vols. 14 to 17, are devoted to the Revolutionary rolls. The 
New Hampshire Historical Society also has a typewritten and 
indexed manuscript containing the record of every Revolu- 
tionary pensioner (soldier or widow), copied from the pension 
records in Washington. Maine's Revolutionary record is 
covered in the 17 volumes of Massachusetts Soldiers and Sail- 
ors of the Revolutionary War. 1 For both states, in which 
King Philip's War is very important, not only because part of 
it was fought on their soil but because of the great land 
grants to its veterans, Soldiers in King Philip's War, by G. M. 
Rodge (3d edition, Boston, 1906) is invaluable. Service by 
Maine men in the other Indian Wars, however, demands 
search in the Massachusetts Archives. Maine soldiers in the 
War of 1812 will be found in Records of the Massachusetts 
Volunteer Militia. To its shame, Maine is one of the seven 
states which have no state archives department. 

New Hampshire has been particularly productive, Maine 
somewhat less so, of local histories containing genealogical 

1 It has recently developed that subsequent to the publication of these 
volumes many additional muster rolls were discovered. Names on these 
(some 30,000) have been transcribed on cards and are in the office of the 
Secretary of the Commonwealth. A comparison of them with the pub- 
lished volumes indicates they contain approximately 20,000 names not 
appearing in the printed lists. Some of these may be Maine men. 


and record information. Their great value lies in the con- 
temporary data gathered by the compiler from living members 
of the families dealt with. In few cases, however, did the 
authors go to the probate and land records and, particularly 
in the early generations, there is much traditional chaff to be 
separated from that which is genealogically sound. The prin- 
cipal Maine town histories with family material are: Au- 
gusta, Belfast, Boothbay, Brunswick, Durham, Eliot, Farming- 
ton, Gorham, Greene, Harrison, Industry, -Islesborough, Ken- 
nebunkport (1837), Kittery, Lincoln, Litchfield, Livermore, 
Machias, Monmouth, North Yarmouth, Norway, Oxford, 
Paris, Parsonsfield, Rumford, Saco and Biddleford (1830), 
Saco Valley Settlements and Families, Sanford, Thomaston, 
Union, Warren, Waterford, Wayne, Windham, Winthrop, 
Woodstock. 2 New Hampshire: Acworth, Amherst, Andover, 
Antrim, Bedford, Boscawen, Bristol, Brookline, Canaan, Can- 
terbury, Charlestown, Chester, Concord, Cornish, Coventry, 
Dover, Dublin, Durham, Exeter, Fitzwilliam, Francestown, 
Gilmanton, Gilsum, Goffstown, Hampstead, Hampton, Han- 
cock, Haverhill, Henniker, Hillsborough, Hollis, Hopkinton, 
Jeffrey, Langdon, Littleton, Londonderry, Lyndeborough, 
Marlborough, Meredith, Milford, Mount Vernon, Newfields, 
New Ipswich, New London, Newport, Northfield, Nottingham, 
Pembroke, Penacook, Peterborough, Plymouth, Raymond, 
Richmond, Rindge, Rye, Salem, Salisbury, Sanbornton, Strat- 
ford, Sullivan, Surry, Sutton, Swanzey, Temple, Troy, Wal- 
pole, Washington, Weare, West Dunstable, Wilton, Windham, 
Wolfeborough. In many of these books families from neigh- 
boring towns are also included. 

In the field of collective genealogy, both provinces are 
covered by The Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New 
Hampshire which attempts to give the genealogical and im- 
portant biographical facts concerning every family which was 
established by 1699, and in so doing carries many of them 
well into the 18th century. The book is the result of many 

2 Useful in determining the former names of towns and location of 
streams and mountains mentioned in records is Stanley B. Attwood's 
The Length and Breadth of Maine (1946). 


years of research — a long lifetime in the case of Mr. Libby — 
but the authors assure the researcher that more exhaustive 
work on individual families may produce both errata and 
addenda. Nor have they material on later generations in re- 
serve, which fact, if sufficiently disseminated, would save 
much fruitless correspondence ! 


Vermont is the northwesternmost state in New England. 
Much of the area comprising the state was in dispute between 
its neighbors, New York being particularly insistent on assert- 
ing jurisdiction over it. This is important, as it means that 
sometimes when known early settlers do not appear in the 
Vermont records, they may be found in records of New York, 
New Hampshire or Massachusetts. 

The most comprehensive reference work in print is Abby 
M. Hemenway's Vermont Historical Gazetteer, a sort of quar- 
terly magazine issued over a long period of years. Miss Hem- 
enway was an indefatigable worker who spent the best years 
of her life traveling over the state gathering at first hand the 
information which she worked into her history. Many of the 
town histories were written by local people at Miss Hemen- 
way's request; many of her records were taken from original 
documents some of which have been since lost or burned. 
Some years ago, the Vermont Legislature, inspired by some- 
one who realized the value of a properly made index, auth- 
orized the publication of a thorough index to be made at state 
expense. The index now forms the sixth volume, and has 
greatly increased the value of the set. Miss Hemenway, at 
the time of her sudden death in 1890, had projected a sixth 
volume which was never published, so the Gazetteer does not 
cover the entire state. It must be remembered that Miss 
Hemenway is not always accurate, as few histories of that 
period are accurate for, as already mentioned, much of her 

* Based on Gilbert H. Doane's article, "Vermont: A Stumbling- Block in 
Midwestern Genealogy", Indiana Magazine of History, XXIV, March 
1938, broug-ht up-to-date by Jean Stephenson with data supplied by 
Richard Wood, Director, Vermont Historical Society. 


material was secured by interviewing "old settlers", a source 
of greatly varying reliability. In general, however, she can 
be relied upon to furnish a workable clue. As she worked be- 
tween 1865 and 1885 gathering information, much of it came 
from people who were actually pioneers in the state, and much 
of it is available in no other place for, as in many young com- 
munities, pioneer records were poorly kept. 

Another important collection, which to most genealogists 
is little known, is the Records of the Council of Safety and 
Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, 177 5-1 83 6. l 
As the title indicates, these volumes comprise original records 
of the various state councils and committees for their first 
half century, the earlier volumes being the official journals of 
the pre-legislative assemblies such as that at Westminster at 
which was declared the independence of the province. Like 
many public records, these are of inestimable value to the 
genealogist. As an example of their usefulness : The earliest 
record of the settlement of one branch of the Gilbert family 
in Vermont was in 1794, according to a deed which was the 
first dated record to be found. In one of the volumes (IV, 37) 
of this set is found, under date of 7 November, 1792, a record 
that Nathan Gilbert was made a member of a Committee on 
Road Tax in Smithfield (now part of Fairfield), thus carrying 
back the date of their settlement two years. Genealogically, 
much may happen in two or three years, especially when such 
a record indicates that Nathan Gilbert was sufficiently well 
known to the town's assemblyman to warrant his recommen- 
dation to the Governor's Council for such an appointment. 
Incidentally, there are many, probably about five hundred, 
biographical sketches of Vermonters of this period scattered 
throughout these eight volumes. An index to these sketches 
is found in Volume III (pp. 459-64), and all the names of per- 
sons are adequately indexed in each volume. 

Of equal importance is Vermont State Papers (1918-1958). 
These contain many names and the last four volumes are peti- 
tions which are most helpful from a genealogical standpoint. 

Unlike the other New England states, Vermont has made no 

1 Eliakim Persons Walton (editor), 8 vols., Montpelier, 1873-1880. 


effort to publish the vital statistics of the towns making up 
the state. However, many town and county histories have 
been written and some of them include vital statistics. 

Many years ago an enterprising individual in Burlington 
commenced the publication of Vermont marriage records, but 
only one volume was ever published. 2 That contained the rec- 
ords for Montpelier, Burlington and Berlin. 

There are always the records of the first census, that of 
1790. The user should remember that town lines and town and 
county names have changed a great deal since 1790 ; moreover, 
the 1790's were moving days, so the location of a man in one 
town according to the census does not mean that he could not 
be living fifty miles away, or even farther, the next year. In 
using the Vermont volume one should know that this census 
was not taken in Vermont until 1791, so many families may 
appear in two different volumes of the 1790 census. For in- 
stance, one Soule is listed as a resident of Pawling in the 
New York volume for 1790 ; and again in the Vermont volume 
as an inhabitant of Fairfield. Because of the date of this 
census in Vermont, one can sometimes calculate to within a 
year the date of migration to Vermont from any of the other 
states in which the census was taken in 1790. 

Copies of the 1790 census are available in most of the 
larger libraries in the United States. 

The Vermont Historical Society has published the U. S. 
Census for Vermont taken in 1800, which also is available in 
many libraries. The Vermont State Library has on micro- 
film the census returns of 1810 to 1870, and manuscript re- 
turns of those of 1850 to 1880, inclusive. The National Ar- 
chives has the originals of those from 1790 to 1870, inclu- 
sive, and microfilm of that of 1880. Microfilms of those from 
1830 to 1880 may be purchased from The National Archives. 

A very valuable source of information as to names of early 
Vermonters is to be found in Volume XXVI of the New 
Hampshire State Papers. These are the records of the New 
Hampshire Grants made by Benning Wentworth ; appended to 

Vermont Marriages (1903). 


the grant of each township is the list of the grantees. It 
must be remembered that not all the grantees settled in the 
town, but many of them did, and one obtains from this list a 
valuable record. 

Many of the petitions of the New York grantees may be 
found in the papers relating to the New Hampshire Grants 
in the fourth volume of E. B. O'Callaghan's Documentary 
History of the State of Neiv York, where are to be found 
over five hundred pages of Vermont records, many of them of 
great genealogical importance. For instance, some of the 
petitions printed in full in this collection constitute virtual 
censuses of the several towns. Unfortunately, there is no in- 

For Revolutionary rolls there has been published John E. 
Goodrich's compilation of Rolls of Soldiers in the Revolution- 
ary War, 1775-1783 (Rutland, 1904). These are not neces- 
sarily complete, for every little while a new roll of some com- 
pany comes to light and has to be added to the others. 

These records of Revolutionary men should be supplemented 
by another important list of "Soldiers of the Revolutionary 
War Buried in Vermont," published in the Vermont Histori- 
cal Society Proceedings, 1903-1904- (pp. 93-106, 114-165). 
This not only lists all known Revolutionary soldiers who are 
buried in the state, but also lists the names of various invalid 
pensioners of that war, resident in the state. This list was 
supplemented by another in the Proceedings, 1905-1906 (pp. 
189-203). Unfortunately both of these lists are arranged by 
towns, rather than by surnames, and there is no index, so 
they are difficult to use unless one knows the locality of the 
individual for whom he is searching. 

The pension records in Washington are important to gene- 
alogists. The first major attempt to print the names of pen- 
sioners of the Revolutionary War, and certain data about 
them, was in 1835, when a report of the Secretary of War, 
ordered by Congress, was printed in three volumes as Senate 
Executive Document, No. 514, first session, twenty-third Con- 
gress. For the present purpose but a portion of Volume I, 
devoted to New England pensioners arranged by states, is of 


interest. There are one hundred sixty-four pages of Vermont 
pensioners, arranged by counties. With each name on the 
roll, are listed the man's rank, annual allowance, sums re- 
ceived, description of service, date when placed on pension 
roll, commencement of pension, age and remarks (which often 
constitute the date of death) . The second major attempt was 
after the data of the 1840 census were available, for this cen- 
sus included by name each pensioner then living. This list 
was published by the Department of State in 1841, and con- 
stitutes a quarto volume of one hundred ninety-five pages, 
again arranged by states, so it is simple enough to get at the 
Vermont records. Unfortunately there is no index. 

The National Genealogical Society has been publishing since 
March 1943 in its Quarterly an Index to the Revolutionary 
Pensions, the letter "S" having been reached in the June 1959 
issue. While this index gives the state from which the pen- 
sioner served, rather than the state in which he lived when his 
pension was allowed, if the name of the soldier is known it can 
readily be determined if one appearing therein is the man who 
later lived in Vermont. 

The Adjutant General of Vermont published in 1935 a 
Roster of the War of 1812, in which are listed all known Ver- 
mont soldiers in that war. The list has been compiled from 
various sources, and no name has been omitted of which a rec- 
ord has been found. The compiler had all names checked 
with the pension records in Washington, so pensioners and 
widows receiving pensions are indicated, and the number of 
the pension record is cited. 

As for state, county and town histories, there are many in 
print. The worth of these varies greatly. The usual critical 
appraisal must be made before statements in them can be ac- 
cepted. All too often such works are unindexed, particularly 
in the case of old or general histories. 

An important index to be found in the Proceedings of the 
Vermont Historical Society for 1911-1912 (pp. 165-226) is 
that to Zadock Thompson's History of Vermont (edition of 
1842), a book published at the time when indexes were not 
considered necessary. 


Incidentally, it should be remembered that the New York 
counties of Cumberland (established 1768), Gloucester (es- 
tablished 1770) and Charlotte (established in 1772, name 
changed to Washington in 1784) embraced the area now in 
Vermont, so in tracing families in Vermont prior to 1791 it is 
well to consult New York records. 

Genealogical students are familiar with the distressingly 
inaccurate and unreliable "genealogical and family" histories 
published during the last two decades of the 19th century and 
on into the 20th. Vermont was not slighted, for Hiram Carle- 
ton published such a work for the state, which is just as un- 
reliable as dozens of other publications of that time. 3 How- 
ever, not infrequently these very books furnish an enterpris- 
ing genealogist with workable clues, so they must not be dis- 
regarded entirely. They should not, however, be accepted 
without thorough checking as bona fide proof of a descent. 
It is doubtful if any of the more important patriotic societies 
will accept a reference to one of them without substantiating 

Those interested in families who lived near the New York 
line may find useful Vermont Once No Man's Land, by Merritt 
Clarke Barden (1928). 

Every year for twenty-five years the Genealogical Records 
Committee of the Vermont Daughters of the American Revo- 
lution has prepared one or more indexed and bound volumes 
of genealogical records, usually cemetery inscriptions or 
church records. The original is in the D. A. R. Library in 
Washington, and a copy in the Vermont Historical Society 
Library in Montpelier. 

In looking for unpublished records dealing with a gene- 
alogical problem, the first thought of the searcher is vital rec- 
ords. The Legislature of Vermont passed an act years ago 
requiring that each town clerk copy all vital records to be 
found among his office records and send them to the office 
of the Secretary of State. These copies were made on cards, 
and the cards are now filed alphabetically in Montpelier. 

3 Genealogical and Family History of the State of Vermont (2 vols., 
New York and Chicago, 1903). 


Thus, the Secretary of State has supposedly all vital records 
from 1770 to date. A letter to the Department of Vital 
Statistics, Office of the Secretary of State, Montpelier, will 
bring an answer and certified copies will be furnished for a 

Theoretically, all cemetery inscriptions and church records 
were to be copied by the town clerks, but actually this was 
done in very few towns. In many towns the records had been 
destroyed by fire or flood before the act became effective, and, 
probably, in one or two places, the clerk was careless and 
didn't get all the records even in the town books. Since the 
records in Montpelier are by no means complete, failure to find 
a record there must not discourage the searcher. 

The Vermont Historical Society in Montpelier has a large 
collection of manuscript as well as printed genealogies, and al- 
so housed with its collection is that of the Vermont Society of 
Colonial Dames. There also may be found many of the small 
locally printed accounts of "centennial celebrations" of 
churches, settlements, etc., which often provide needed infor- 
mation to the genealogist. 

As to the use of vital records, all know that clues can be 
developed by analogy and from records which are not those 
of the individual sought, as for instance from the birth rec- 
ord of his brother or sister whose name is known to the 

Failing vital records, and sometimes to establish relation- 
ships indicated in vital records, one must turn to probate rec- 
ords. Vermont is rather peculiar in this respect, for the pro- 
bate district boundary does not always correspond to county 
lines. There are twenty probate districts in Vermont and 
only fourteen counties. A list of these districts may be found 
in the Vermont Year Book (formerly called Walton's Regis- 
ter) . A good description of "Vermont Probate Districts", by 
Grace W. W. Reed and Winifred Lovering Holman, appeared 
in The American Genealogist, vol. 27, April 1951. It gives 
the location of each office, area covered, and date of the earliest 


Land records in Vermont are kept in the offices of the town 
clerks. Fortunately, because of their value in preparing ab- 
stracts of title, indexes of grantees and grantors have been 
made in most offices, even if witnesses of deeds and others 
mentioned in the body of the deed are not listed. Land rec- 
ords are especially valuable in tracing a migration, and some- 
times valuable in determining a relationship. John Doe of 
Sandwich, Massachusetts, may buy a piece of land in Benning- 
ton, Vermont, and fifteen years later, calling himself John 
Doe of Canton, New York, deed that same land to someone 
else. Thus, there is a record of two of his moves, from Sand- 
wich to Bennington and from Bennington to Canton. Or, 
he may deed that same land "for the natural love I bear him" 
to his son, Thomas Doe, and in a later deed Thomas Doe of 
Richmond, Indiana, may dispose of that land in Bennington, 
thus definitely placing Thomas Doe of Richmond, Indiana, as 
the son of John Doe of Bennington, Vermont, formerly of 
Sandwich, Massachusetts. 

Church records, another important mass of unpublished rec- 
ords, are more difficult to trace. The clerkship of the church 
changes, records get lost, ministers move away and sometimes 
take the records with them. Houses burn and the records 
perish. But the genealogist of ingenuity will find them, if 
possible, for in them are sometimes records which are missing 
from the town books — baptisms, admissions (sometimes by 
letter from another church a hundred miles away), dismis- 
sals (especially those by letter to another church), and burials. 
Try the yearbooks of the various denominations, such as the 
Congregational Yearbook, as the first source of information 
concerning the individual to whom it is desired to write about 
such records. It will save postage and grief if the letter is 
written directly to somebody, rather than to the postmaster 
who has to be asked to give the letter to the proper person — 
such letters the writer has seen accumulate in one small post 
office in Vermont! 



The question most frequently asked by the public of the 
librarians at the New England Historic Genealogical Society 
is a simple one, "Where can I find records of deeds and estates 
in Massachusetts?" This it is proposed to answer, also to show 
up the oddities of some of the methods of keeping them, and 
in the course of this reply to put in some other helpful hints. 

First, we must realize that history should be studied for the 
background of any colony, province or state, in an effort to 
comprehend fully why such methods arose; such a survey is 
left to the individual searcher. Massachusetts, unlike Gaul, 
was divided before 1686 into tivo colonies, the smaller one 
covering what is now Barnstable, Bristol and Plymouth. 
Counties, before it was gobbled up by the much larger and al- 
ways land-hungry Bay Colony. (Just as the latter "acquired" 
parts of New Hampshire, in 1641-1642, Maine in 1652, and at- 
tempted to take over parts of Rhode Island and Connecticut 
earlier, but failed in the last two attempts.) Eventually, in 
1820, Maine became a separate state. The line between Mas- 
sachusetts and New Hampshire was partly settled in 1741, 3 
that with Connecticut in 1749, and with Rhode Island in 1747. 
An argument over the western boundary, with New York, 
lasted much longer. When working with towns near these 
boundaries, one has always to consider the history or the 
"genealogy" of that section in respect to dates, in order to 
locate the place of records at a given date. One must learn 
what is available for the special period and where these rec- 
ords are, one of the A. B. C.'s of all research. 

The probate 2 (wills, administrations and guardianships) are 
kept in each county. There are no orphans courts as such. 
Since 1888, probate includes divorces, as well as changes of 

1 Final settlement, 13 June 1894 (1902 Report of the Commissioners, pp. 

2 In Massachusetts the word, "probate," is used in the same sense as 
"probate records" is used elsewhere, i.e., to cover both books and docu- 
ments or "loose papers", or, in other words, all records relating to settle- 
ment of estates. 


name; before that year, divorces were filed in the Supreme 
Judicial Court, under the counties. The land transactions 
and mortgages (no separate index for the latter) are kept 
in each county, as are the various types of county court rec- 
ords. The primer for Finding Aids is Wright's 1889 Report 
of the Public Records, first made available in the 1880's, with 
additional publications from time to time. Especially valu- 
able is that of 1889, as it gives the full story of town, church 
and court records, and lists extinct towns and churches (the 
last by denomination as well as by town) , etc. However, it is 
not infallible and has to be annotated and corrected to bring 
it up to date. 

In 1643, the Bay Colony was divided into four counties, Mid- 
dlesex, Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk. This last was the "old" 
Norfolk, set up to include the towns of Dover, Exeter, Ports- 
mouth, Salisbury and Hampton. Its deeds and estates, 1649- 
1714, in 4 volumes, separately indexed, are at Salem, county 
seat of Essex. The territory now comprising Amesbury, 
Merrimac, Salisbury, Haverhill, Methuen and the north part 
of Lawrence, included in this area was set off to Essex in 1680, 
at which time Norfolk supposedly expired ; yet, records run as 
late as 1714. At the same time, there were two separate deed 
registries in Essex, the Ipswich Deeds, 1640-1694, in 5 
volumes, likewise separately indexed, and the regular Essex 
Deeds. 3 

The above comments as to records of deeds and probate 
do not take into consideration fairly modern registries of 
deeds. Some of our larger counties have a double registry 
system: Bristol 1837; Essex 1869; Middlesex 1855, and Wor- 
cester 1884. 

Thus, at Salem, the Registry for Essex, we have three sets 
of deeds, one of which includes probate, in the 17th century — 

3 These records, Ipswich and Norfolk (copy) are in poor condition, the 
index of the former is ancient ( ante 1700) , both sets should be copied 
now and properly indexed. Much will come to light when this does 
happen, as it is probable that not all the names of the grantors and 
grantees appear in the present indexes. 


Norfolk, Ipswich, and the regular and splendidly indexed Es- 
sex. 4 And, of course, the probate. 

The date of earliest entry for Suffolk probate is 1636. The 
early indexes are published and refer to a file number. From 
this Docket Index, one gets the index to volumes and pages and 
a list of the extant documents. It is now customary to limit 
the actual perusal of the documents to those known to the Reg- 
ister, or who bear a letter to him. This is due to a lack of 
employees, the old files are not easy of access. But, as in all 
old probate, one has to cover both the records in the copy- 
books (volumes) and the original papers or documents to get 
the complete story. Due to the Andros Administration, 6 in 
which a much needed revision of probate proceedings was 
made by that much maligned governor, estates worth over 
fifty pounds were brought to Boston to be acted upon from all 
over New England, from New York, and even from New Jer- 

Suffolk deeds were entered from 1639, are now well housed 
and with a fine descriptive index. The first 14 volumes have 
been printed and insofar as recording is concerned carry past 
1686; the "other person" index in each volume is invaluable. 
Not many know that a last name index has been made of 
"other persons" through 1799, and is available for use in that 
form. Suffolk lost two of its volumes of deeds in 1776, when 
all the then extant books were carted to Dedham, the British 
having taken Boston. 

Suffolk now has photostat facilities for both probate and 
deeds, as do most of the Massachusetts counties, Hampshire 
probate being one of the present (1959) exceptions. 

Middlesex probate date from 1654. The printed index is to 
the files, so if one wishes to check on the copy-books, always a 
"must", one has to cover the by-the-volume indexes. More- 

* It is common in Massachusetts, as elsewhere, to give as a date in the 
index of deeds, the recording and not the actual passing. It is well 
to take all three dates of each deed when abstracting; this is often mis- 
sed by so-called experts! 

6 See American Genealogist, vols. 12-13, for an article -re -same and index 
of all estates, giving places of residence (which the printed index 
omits), etc., 1686-1692. 


over, there is a single large modern copy of Miscellaneous Rec- 
ords, ante 1692, made from the files of the county court at 
the instigation of the late Mary Lovering Holman ; this covers 
from the beginning of that county until the appointment of a 
Judge of Probate in 1692. As this book is cross indexed, it is 
of immense value. 

Middlesex deeds commence with 1649. The index is old 
type before 1800, that is, no place of land cited, and although 
a modern index was made some 20 years ago on cards, it has 
not as yet become available to the public. Also, at this Reg- 
istry are the little-known Hopkinton and Upton Deeds, 1743- 
1833, 19 volumes, with a separate grantor index, which deal 
with land owned once by Harvard. A grantee index would 
be of value, but it has never been made. 

Across the street from the Registry, at the Office of the 
Clerk of Courts, is an index made by the W. P. A. of the Court 
Files to about 1733; a most intricate system of filing makes 
it quite a chore to locate the case or paper from this index, but 
it can be done. The papers are in bundles and were tagged 
with years and file numbers but the tags in many instances 
are now lost, and the bundles are no longer in chronological 
order, there is insufficient space for them, they are crammed 
together, and are kept in four separate places. Those in 
authority know little about the "system". All is kept under 
lock and key as it should be. They have a photostat machine. 
The copy-books of the court records date from 1686 and are 
roughly indexed by the volume. 

The present Norfolk is a late county, being established in 
1793 from Suffolk. The county seat is at Dedham. But bear 
in mind that many a town now part of Boston was formerly 
within Norfolk, after 1793. Like the Bay Colony, Boston has 
been a great grabber of territory! There is a printed index 
to the probate and both probate and deeds are well kept and 
easily available. 

Barnstable, Plymouth and Bristol Counties were all set up 
in 1686, when the little "Old Colony" (Plymouth) expired 

By a Mrs. Rusiel; it is handwritten. 


and was embraced by the Bay Colony. 7 Unfortunately, the 
deeds and probate files of Barnstable, that happy hunting 
ground for Mayflower descendants, were burned in 1827 al- 
though a very few deeds have since been recorded. 8 

In 1746, Cumberland, Barrington, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton 
and Little Compton, formerly in Bristol County, were annexed 
to Rhode Island. The county seat of Bristol County was then 
changed from Bristol to Taunton. 

The records of Plymouth Colony were printed a century ago ; 
they include one volume of deeds. At the time it was planned 
to print all the deeds and the probate. Handwritten copies of 
these are now at the Massachusetts Archives. 9 Hence, one 
can obtain in Boston the usual county deeds and probate before 
1686 of these three counties, including those towns which, 
since 1746, are part of Rhode Island. 

Dukes County (mainly Martha's Vineyard) dates from 1696 
for probate and 1686 for deeds, and Nantucket from 1706 for 
probate and 1659 for deeds; both are islands, and were for- 
merly under the jurisdiction of New York. 

Worcester was set up in 1731 from Suffolk and Middlesex 
Counties. In a large county such as Middlesex, many of the 
deeds are late recorded. Some deeds have been recorded 50, 
75 and even 100 years late in Middlesex. One Hampshire 
County town was included in Worcester, namely, Brookfield. 
Its probate index is in print and one may use both papers and 
books. Some of the early deeds are now on microfilm but, 
when necessary, researchers may consult the actual volume. 

Turning to Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin Counties, we 
find that, before 1787, all deeds pertaining to the three 
counties are at Springfield. In 1787, three Registries of 
Deeds were set up in old Hampshire at Deerfield, Northampton 
and Springfield. Franklin was set off in 1811 and Hampden 
in 1812, with county seats at Greenfield (at which time Deer- 

7 Older probate files of Bristol are not numbered. 

8 By a miracle the probate records (vols.) of Barnstable survived. From 
25 Oct. 1685 until 17 Nov. 1707, Rochester was within Barnstable Co., 
and then in Plymouth Co. (Pilgrim Notes and Queries, April 1917, vol. 5, 
No. 4, p. 62.) 

" Vide post. 


field Registry was abolished) and Springfield. 10 But all the 
probate of Hampshire before 1811 (Franklin) and 1812 
(Hampden) are at Northampton. 11 So the searcher must work 
in both Springfield (deeds) and Northampton (probate) be- 
fore 1811 and 1812. The deeds for the present Hampshire 
have been at Northampton since 1787. Border towns such as 
Somers, Enfield, Suffield, now in Connecticut, were, before 
1750, in Hampshire County. 

In 1788, Berkshire County, which had been erected in 1761 
from Hampshire, was divided into three Registries of Deeds, 
North Adams, Great Barrington and Pittsfield. All three now 
have identical sets of typed proprietors' records of some 
of the older towns, fully indexed, made in 1920. :2 Be sure to 
see these as there is much land evidence within them. Both 
the northern district (North Adams) and the southern dis- 
trict (Great Barrington), have abstracts of the deeds before 
1788, pertaining to its section, but it is well to cover the 
parent also, (Pittsfield). 

The deeds and probate for Woodstock, Connecticut, are in 
Boston until 1731 as it was part of Suffolk, then in Worcester 
until 1750. Another curiosity is the town of Hingham. When 
the present Norfolk was incorporated, 26 March 1793, it in- 
cluded all the original territory of Suffolk, except the towns of 
Boston and Chelsea (Rumney Marsh). Hingham, Hull and 
Cohasset were to be a part of the new county, but before this 
went into operation as such, the law was repealed 20 June 
1793 in regard to Hingham and Hull. These two remained 
within Suffolk until 13 June 1803, when they were annexed to 
Plymouth. Cohasset, a part of Hingham until 1770, is now 
in Norfolk and is separated completely from its county by 
Hingham and Hull which are in Plymouth. Brookline, in 

10 In 1812, the town of Chester (whose deeds had been filed at North- 
ampton from 1787) was annexed to Springfield in so far as registration 
of deeds was concerned (information supplied by the late. Ethel Lord 
Scofield, Longmeadow, Mass.). 

11 In the 1958 New England Historic Genealogical Register appeared a 
Note re Probate (1690-1692) in back of Vol. A. of Hampshire Co. Deeds, 
at Springfield. 

12 In the use of this index, bear in mind that the copyist could not de- 
cipher many of the names. 


Norfolk, is isolated by Boston, in Suffolk, and by Newton, 
Watertown and Cambridge in Middlesex, the reason being 
Boston's West Roxbury, once a part of Norfolk's Dedham. 

Thus, we conclude our very quick and general survey of the 
counties in respect to their probate and deeds. 

It may be of help to note that in 1938 when the Quabbin 
Dam obliterated some of the old Hampshire and Worcester 
towns, the records of these towns were placed in the Admini- 
stration Quarters of the Windsor Dam, in Belchertown. Care 
must be utilized in using these records for they have been re- 
bound in some instances without regard to the original pagi- 
nation ; it is well to leaf through them. Of these former 
towns, Greenwich was formed 1754, Enfield 1816, Dana 1801 
and Prescott 1822. The bounds of the remaining towns in 
that vicinity have been changed. The situation needs careful 
study for good work. The Massachusetts D. A. R. is copying 
the vital records of Greenwich, Enfield and Prescott. Typed 
copies of the gravestones of these extinct towns are avail- 
able. The church records have been placed in various re- 
positories. 11 

The various reports of the printed public records, already 
cited, give the necessary information about town and church 
records, and have been, more or less, kept up-to-date, in an 
interleaved and annotated copy at the New England Historic 
Genealogical Society. 

Vital records of about half or more of the older towns have 
been published, by various individuals, societies and the state. 
Hence they vary as to content and arrangement. Before us- 
ing these volumes, one must always evaluate them by a study 
of the abbreviations which quickly inform one if they are all- 
inclusive, with town, church, Bible, private and gravestone 
records being covered. Many of the older books are not so 
done. And sometimes, as in Lynn, the original records were 
used plus recent (and incorrect) additions, not placed in 
brackets, as is done in the case of Duxbury. Most of these 

13 It is regrettable that when church records are included in published 
vital records the admissions and dismissions are generally omitted, even 
though not pertaining to births, marriages and deaths. 


records are printed in the alphabet form. The Mayfioiver 
Descendant includes vital records of towns in the Cape Cod 
and Plymouth areas. 

With few exceptions, one has to go to the town to consult 
the town meeting (minutes) and proprietors' records. The 
former are valuable for their "Warnings Out" and for records 
about civil and military services during the Colonial and Rev- 
olutionary War periods. 14 

Local town libraries and small historical societies should al- 
ways be visited for town records, such as Woburn, with its 
Wyman Collection; Pittsfield with the R. D. Cook copies of 
church, town and cemetery records ; New Bedford ; Westfield ; 
and so on. 

Boston itself should form a separate chapter, if not a volume 
of considerable pages. There is a well-known hiatus in its 
vital records, roughly over a century, from about 1740. This 
period must be covered by use of the copies of the many old 
Boston Church Records, now at City Hall. As these copies 
were paid for by the City, they are in its possession and are 
subject to a small fee for their examination. There is little 
room for their careful storage and supervision, and no room at 
all for the searcher; they should be placed elsewhere. They 
are by the volume and the indexes are last name only. The 
originals are still in the possession of the various churches, if 
extant, if not, it is a hunt ! It so happens that the records of 
a few of these churches have been printed, the Brattle Square 
being one of these exceptions. An effort has been made by 
the Congregational, the Episcopal and the Unitarian com- 
munities to localize these records, especially in the case of de- 
funct churches, in their respective libraries, in Boston. 

The Boston Record Commissioners, known as the B. R. C, 
issued in 39 volumes the available vital records, selectmen's 

14 Warning Out had nothing to do with the financial or moral status of 
those so warned. The law read briefly that no strangers were to be en- 
tertained in a town above 20 days without giving notice to the select- 
men. (13th of William III.) Some towns rigidly enforced the law, for 
periods, others never did. 


minutes, town records and so on, over a period of years. 15 Such 
old gravestone records as have been printed have been issued 
privately, e. g., Copps Hill, Central and Granary. More re- 
cent ones have been printed by the City, such as Mt. Hope. 
Many of the Boston et vie cemeteries have been copied in type- 
script under various auspices. 

A listing of places in which to work in Boston may be of 
some aid: 

1. Suffolk County Court House, for probate and deeds, 
and also for the old Superior Court of Judicature (since 1785 
the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth), where is 
the marvelous Murphy cross index to all the files before 1700. 
This index is arranged as an index to a Docket Index. After 
1700, there are indexes to the cases, under various counties. 

2. Massachusetts Archives. This is probably the richest 
and most consecutive collection in these United States, and is 
also probably the most badly housed and neglected. Now 
(1959), however, the Commonwealth is erecting an Archives 
building, with proper temperature and humidity control. 

In 1836-1846 the various papers in the Archives were pasted 
in some 242 volumes by J. B. Felt, in a curious system of his 
own. There is an index in each. Volumes 1-40 and the Town 
Series, 112-118 inclusive, are cross indexed in the main cata- 
logue. In addition, there is a chronological catalogue in 7 
volumes, which covers the entire 242. Volumes 67-80 are in- 
dexed in the military series. Volumes 243-326, which begin 
about 1660, have been arranged since 1885. These do not 
appear in the main catalogue, or general index, nor have they 
any index by the volume. A few have a name index but deal 
mainly with Shays' Rebellion in 1786. But various booklets 
have been issued by the Archives about their records. Not 
much has been indexed since 1940. The main card indexes 

Military, 1643-1774, 14 volumes; Civil, 1686-1744; Shays' 

15 Note that B. R. C. 28, entitled Marriages, 1700-1751, contains some in- 
tentions, 1695-1697, pp. 348-350, and from 1676 a few marriages, p. 327. 


Rebellion, 1786 ; French and Indian War, 1710-1774. 16 General 
Index or Catalogue, explained above; Eastern Claims 
(Maine) ; Pensioners; Executive Records of the Governors 

Of the colonial era, it might be estimated that about two- 
thirds of the records are covered by one of these indexes. 
Some of the records are now on microfilms. At the Archives 
are also some census records, late lists of immigrants, original 
wills not found elsewhere, etc. 

At the State House, in which are the inadequately (1959) 
housed Archives, is also the Bureau of Vital Statistics (the 
vital records for the entire state since 1842), and the Adju- 
tant General's Office, which contains war services since the 
Revolution (particularly militia records) . The State Library 
has some treasures, such as the Governor Bradford history, on 
loan, but does not concentrate upon records as such; it does 
have files of old newspapers which are helpful. 

3. The Boston Public Library has newspapers and also 
the W. P. A. Index to the genealogical pages of the late Boston 
Transcript. The Boston Athenaeum, a private library, has 
newspapers, various published and unpublished sources, in- 
cluding some of the original Suffolk County Court Files, now 
in print. The Boston Medical Library is a great help if the 
ancestor was a doctor. The libraries of various faiths have 
been cited above ; we must also consider those of the colleges 
and universities in Massachusetts, each with its own specialty, 
such as Widener at Harvard, with its fine county history col- 
lection; Williams, with the original Hutchinson Mss., and 
so on. 

4. For Custom House Records, see Dr. Samuel E. Mor- 
ison's article, June, 1921, in the Proceedings of the Massachu- 
setts Historical Society. There are also two volumes of Mari- 
time Records at the Supreme Judicial Court. 

5. The Massachusetts Historical Society published in 

18 This last index is only on cards on which are abstracted the records 
and it was planned to publish them years ago. But only the Revolution- 
ary and Civil War records have been issued. There are also some ad- 
ditional unpublished records of the Revolutionary War available. 


1948 a list of their principal manuscript collections, for which 
they are famed, to which the student is referred. Many of 
these are now fully cross indexed ; they also have the late Miss 
Thwing's Index to old Boston families and streets, which is 
sometimes a help to published sources, deeds and probate, and 
a cross reference. 

6. The New England Historic Genealogical Society is 
the oldest genealogical library in the United States, and it is 
especially rich in unpublished material; a continuation, on 
cards, of the Munsell Index; a card index to places, now in 
process, throughout the United States, for sources within this 
library; and the 1798 Direct Tax for Massachusetts, including 
Maine (see the New England Historical and Genealogical Reg- 
ister, vol. 45, 1891, pp. 82-83). Much of the unpublished 
material is in the vault and no longer available to non-mem- 
bers, but such material on the shelves may be consulted by the 
public. There is a notable collection of diaries and news- 
papers. This Society's quarterly, the Netu England Historical 
and Genealogical Register, now (1959) in its 113th volume, 
needs no further introduction. Membership, which includes 
loan of books of which there are duplicates, is essential to 
those who attempt careful research in Massachusetts. 17 


In 1958, the author of this chapter was advised by Mrs. 
John E. Barclay, F. A. S. G., that the supposed verbatim and 
complete official copy of the Plymouth Colony deeds and wills, 
made about 1860 by Shattuck( indexed by the volumes and not 
cross-indexed), said copy, in some dozen large volumes, being 
at the Massachusetts Archives, is not complete. (The wills 
include all types of estates.) Briefly, the original volumes, at 
Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the Registry of Deeds, for Ply- 
mouth County, contain more deeds and many more wills than 
are given in this "official copy". One would have to compare 

17 Grateful acknowledgement is hereby made to Miss M. C. Reed of 
Brookline, Mass. for her careful reading 1 of this chapter and her valu- 
able suggestions, and to Miss R. E. Thomas, of Medford, Mass., for her 


the original indexes of the volumes at Plymouth to see if there 
were further references for a given family, as to deeds and 
estates, than in the supposed " copy" at the Archives. 

Printed Sources 

There are histories, more or less full, of most of the Con- 
necticut towns, and some or these contain genealogical data in 
arranged family form, while others give vital statistics from 
the town or church records or from both. These books vary 
greatly as to accuracy and completeness. A bibliography is 
impossible in limited space, but the following list will serve as 
a partial guide. After each town, "G" signifies family gene- 
alogies, "V" signifies town vital statistics, and "C" signifies 
church records. An asterisk after the letter means that the 
records are verbatim or fairly full and accurate copies, or that 
the genealogies are unusually complete and useful. 
Bethany (V, C, G) Goshen (G) 

Bolton (V*) Granby (C*) 

Brookfield (G) Greenwich (G) 

Canterbury (C*) Haddam (C*) 

Canton (G*) Hartford (C) 3 

Cheshire (V*, C*) Lebanon (early V) 

Colchester (early V*) Ledyard (G) 

Cornwall (G) Litchfield (G) 

Coventry (V) Mansfield (V) 

Cromwell (G) 1 Meriden (C*) 

Derby (G) Montville (G) 

Durham (V, C) New Britain (C, G*) 

East Haven (G) New Haven (V*)' 

Enfield (V*, C*) Newington (C*) 

Fairfield (C*, G) 2 New Milford (G) 

1 See title, Middletown Upper Houses. 

2 Schenck's History. See also Jacobus' Families of Old Fairfield (G*) ; 
and Annals of an Old Parish for Southport (C*) . 

3 Records of the First Church (C), Second Church (C*), and Episcopal 
Church ( C* ) , in three separate publications. 

* See also Jacobus' Families of Ancient New Haven (G*). 


New London (C*) 5 Stonington (C*, G) 

Norfolk (C*) Stratford (G*) 

Norwalk (V) Suffield (C*) 

Norwich (V*)° Torrington (G) 

Oxford (V, C, G) Union (G) 

Preston (C*) Vernon (V)° 

Reading (C, G) Wallingford (G) 

Ridgefield (V) Waterbury (V*, G) 10 

Salisbury (V) Wethersfield (G*) 

Saybrook (V*) Winchester (G*) 

Seymour (V) 7 Windham (G) 11 

Sharon (V, C) Windsor (G*) 12 

Simsbury (V*) Wolcott (G) 

Southbury (C, G) 8 Woodbury (V, C, G) 

Southington (C*, G) Woodstock (V*) 13 
Stamford (V) 

In addition, Bailey's Early Connecticut Marriages (7 vols.) 
gives marriage records before 1800 from a large number of 
churches and is useful despite many errors in transcribing 
the records of some of the churches. A list of records in the 
entire set will be found in the front of the seventh volume. 
Early vital and church records from a number of towns have 
appeared in the New England Historical and Genealogical Reg- 

6 The Diary of Joshua Hempstead is a valuable source for New London. 
Caulkins' History has some early genealogy. 

"Also, Caulkins' History has some early genealogy; the Perkins genealo- 
gies cover only "A" to "Bingham" in print. 

7 Also, genealogies in Seymour Past and Present. 

8 In Sharpe's South Britain; see also, Cothren's Ancient Woodbury, vol. 3. 

9 Published in the same volume with Bolton Vital Records. 

10 Genealogies in Bronson's History; vital statistics, with additions, in 
Anderson's History, vol. 1, appendix. 

11 The printed part of Weaver's Windham Families halts in the letter 
"B", but his manuscripts are at the Connecticut Historical Society, Hart- 

12 Also, early vital records in Some Early Records and Documents of 
. . . Windsor (1930), and in Births, Marriages and Deaths Returned from 
Hartford, Windsor and Fairfield (1898), which are very largely Windsor 

13 Also Bowen's History of Woodstock (G*). 


ister and in The American Genealogist, 1 * These periodicals 
and also some of the town histories mentioned, contain in- 
scriptions from gravestones in a number of cemeteries. 

The Colonial Records of Connecticut (1635-1776) have been 
printed in fifteen volumes, and also several volumes of State 
Records covering the Revolutionary period and beyond. The 
first volume of records of the separate New Haven Colony 
(with jurisdiction from 1643) is lost, but the second volume 
(1653-1663) is in print, also the first volume of New Haven 
town or plantation records (from 1638), mistakenly labeled 
as the first volume of Colony records. Two additional volumes 
of New Haven town records have been published, also the 
book of Hartford land distributions (containing early vital 
records), and the first volume of Hartford Particular Court 

The Connecticut Historical Society published the French 
and Indian War Muster Rolls (2 vols.), and also two volumes 
of rolls of the Revolutionary War, the latter supplementing the 
state publication, Connecticut Men in the Revolution, which 
also includes soldiers of the War of 1812 and of the Mexican 
War. The soldiers of the Civil War are listed in a separate 
volume issued by the state. 

There are printed family histories of many Connecticut 
families. Of collective genealogy, the most ambitious attempt 
was that of R. R. Hinman in First Settlers of the Colony of 
Connecticut (1846) ; (a more comprehensive second edition, 
begun in 1852, covers only "A" to "Danielson", plus the Hin- 
man family, which, although badly arranged, is still useful). 
The most accurate work was that of Frank Farnsworth Starr 
in Goodwin and Morgan Ancestral Lines (1915), and other 
books. Other works dealing with many Connecticut families 
which are useful to consult are Nathaniel Goodwin's Genea- 
logical Notes (1856), the second volume of Dawes-Gates An- 
cestral Lines (1932), by Mary Walton Ferris, Ancestry of 
William F. J. Boardman (1906), by himself, Ernest Flagg's 

14 Consult, for these, the subject index to the first fifty volumes of the 
Register, and Index to Genealogical Periodicals. 


The Founding of New England (1926), and Family Records 
(1935), issued by the Connecticut Chapter, Founders and 
Patriots of America. 15 

Charles W. Manwaring's Digest of Early Connecticut Pro- 
bate Records, Hartford District, is extremely useful because 
its three volumes cover a large territory to the year 1750. 

Town histories not mentioned in our list, and the several 
county histories, while less important genealogically, often 
contain items which may be helpful to the searcher. The 
Commemorative Biographical Record, published by J. H. Beers 
& Co., for the individual counties of the state between 1901 
and 1903, contains a wealth of data, although the early gener- 
ations are not always correctly worked out, and that comment 
applies also to Genealogical and Family History of the State 
of Connecticut (4 vols., Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 

Documentary Sources 

Town Vital Records. — Vital statistics were fairly well 
kept by Connecticut towns in the 17th and 18th centuries, al- 
though some towns were more lax than others and some, such 
as Hartford and Fairfield, have few records for that period. 
The pre-Revolutionary records of Danbury were destroyed, and 
the records of New Fairfield were lost by fire. Most towns 
grew lax in keeping vital records during and following the 
Revolution, and from 1800, few records were entered until 
1820, when by statute the entry of marriages was required. 
Birth and death records had to await another statute in 1848 
to be resumed. Hence, while the early records are good, from 
1780 or 1800 until 1848, there are few vital entries except mar- 
riage records from 1820 onward. 

Through the generosity of Lucius B. Barbour, the vital 
statistics of the state prior to 1850 were completely copied, 
and these have been indexed at the State Library (the "Bar- 
bour Index"). 

15 Perhaps the first volume of The Waterman Family (1939), and The 
Granberry Family (1945), and Hale, House and Related Families (1952) , 
compiled by D. L. Jacobus for Edgar Francis Waterman, merit footnote 
mention with works of this class. 


Church Records. — The deficiencies of the vital statistics 
are made good to some extent by church records when these 
exist. Since these records were kept by the individual 
churches and were in private hands, many have disappeared. 
Some early ministers used their own account books for the 
entry of baptisms, and they or their heirs retained these as 
their personal property. Nevertheless, a large number have 
survived, and many original church registers have been de- 
posited at the State Library, which is gradually performing 
the service of indexing them — the majority are still unin- 
dexed. For church records on deposit, consult Bulletin No. 19 
of the State Library (1951). The Connecticut Historical 
Society at Hartford has a fine collection of copies of church 
records made by the Colonial Dames and by others. Other 
historical societies have such copies pertaining to their own 
sections of the state. 

Gravestones and Newspaper Records. — These are here 
considered together because, as a W. P. A. project, supervised 
by Charles R. Hale under the direction of the State Librarian, 
all the inscriptions in cemeteries in the state were copied to 
date, and also all death and marriage notices in the files of 
Connecticut newspapers to the Civil War period. These have 
been completely indexed and, known as the Hale Collection, 
are an adjunct of the State Library. They aid marvelously in 
supplying the defects of the public and parish records. It is 
a mistake, however, to use the index without consulting the 
actual copies of records which, naturally, often contain more 
information than can be included in the card index. 

Towns and Parishes. — In Connecticut, the term for town- 
ship is town. A place of settlement within a town is a village 
or, sometimes, a borough or city. The original towns com- 
prised a large area. Each town had its ecclesiastical society 
but, with the development of several villages within the towns, 
for convenience, parishes were split so that one town might 
have from one to six or seven parishes. Later, as settlements 
grew in size, they were set off as separate towns, with bounds 
which often but not always coincided with the bounds of the 


parish which was already located in that village. The Regis- 
ter and Manual published by the state tells when each town 
was founded or incorporated, and if it was a "succession" 
town, from what previous town or towns it was set off. The 
parishes sometimes changed their names, as for example the 
North Society in New London became known as the Montville 
Society after that part of New London had been set off as the 
town of Montville. This also illustrates the fact that many 
parishes are older than the towns in which they are now 
located, for the present Montville Society goes back to 1720, 
while the town of Montville was not incorporated until 1786. 
An excellent and most helpful guide to this maze is List of 
Congregational Ecclesiastical Societies established in Connecti- 
cut before October 1818 (1913), prepared by Albert C. Bates 
and published by the Connecticut Historical Society. Other 
helpful guides (not limited to Congregational Societies) are 
the Reports of the Examiner of Public Records for the years 
1906 and 1924, issued by the state. 

Town and Land Records. — The early towns had several 
types of records. The original proprietors had a right to the 
outlying lands, not yet distributed, to which later inhabitants 
had no claim unless they bought out all rights of an original 
proprietor. Hence books were kept of Proprietors' Records, 
in which the later distributions to the proprietors or their 
heirs or assigns were entered. This applies only to the early 
towns, not to the later "succession" towns. Some towns have 
preserved their early records of town meetings, some have 
not. Some have the minutes kept by the selectmen. Records 
of these classes are retained by each town, except a few 
volumes which have been deposited at the State Library. 

The most important town records, genealogically, are the 
land records. In most towns in the period before 1700, a book 
was started in which a page was assigned to each land owner 
with a list and brief description of his lands ; a notation would 
be made in the margin when he sold a piece of land, while new 
purchases were entered with their dates below his original 
holdings. But shortly it was found necessary to copy the 
actual conveyances into the records ; that began at a different 


date in different towns, in New Haven, for example, in 1679, 
over forty years after the town was founded. The very early 
land entries are hence less informative, genealogically, than 
the later ones. Throughout the 18th century, they are of the 
utmost importance. Often estates did not go through pro- 
bate, one of the heirs merely bought out the others, and the 
family relationships are to be found specified in the land trans- 

Because Connecticut did not have the county system of land 
registration, one has to go to the land records in each town. 
This is particularly difficult when a family lived in a region 
which became a "succession" town. For example, one is trac- 
ing a family which in 1850 lived in Monroe. The Monroe 
deeds go back only to 1823, when that town was taken from 
Huntington; one then has to go to Shelton and search the 
Huntington deeds back to 1780, when that town was taken 
from Stratford and the deeds before that are at Stratford. 
Yet, the family may have resided on the same farm through- 
out that period. Enfield was annexed from Massachusetts in 
1749, as were also Suffield and Woodstock; deeds of those 
towns before 1749 can be consulted at the proper county seats 
in Massachusetts, but after that in each town. 

Useful information about town records and their consulta- 
tion will be found in the Reports of the Examiner of Public 
Records for 1930 and 1940, issued by the state. However, 
thanks to the Latter-Day Saints, the State Library now has 
copies on microfilm of the land records of each town to at least 

State Records. — The State Library now has custody of 
some early books of colonial deeds, and of many documents 
which were preserved in the colonial files. The latter are kept 
in many volumes resembling scrapbooks, and have been com- 
pletely indexed under several appropriate categories, such as 
Towns and Lands, Colonial Wars, Ecclesiastical Affairs, Pri- 
vate Controversies, Crimes and Misdemeanors (which, oddly 
enough, includes early divorces), Revolutionary War, and 
many others. Many Revolutionary documents, pay rolls, 


orderly books, and the like, formerly in private hands, have 
been given to the State Library, and there is a supplemental 
index for these. 

County and Probate Courts. — In 1666, three years after 
the union of Connecticut and New Haven Colonies, four 
counties were set up: Hartford, New Haven, Fairfield and 
New London. These counties had judges appointed, who pre- 
sided over a joint County and Probate Court. The early pro- 
bate court orders (appointment of administrators and guard- 
ians, acceptance of wills and inventories, and court orders of 
distribution to the heirs) are therefore to be found in the 
County Court record volumes, along with the civil actions and 
trials for misdemeanors which customarily are heard by a 
Court of Common Pleas. The record books of the four 
counties have been deposited at the State Library, and are 
complete from 1666, except that the first volume for Fairfield 
County (1666-1700) appears to be lost, and the second volume 
(1700-1735) is still kept in the County Court House at Bridge- 
port. The files of the four counties, so far as preserved, are 
at the State Library. Record books of the four later counties, 
Litchfield, Windham, Middlesex, and Tolland, are genealogi- 
cally less important, as they were set up after probate 
functions had been separated from the county courts. 

The four original probate courts kept separate record 
volumes in which to enter wills and inventories, and these 
have been preserved since 1666, except that both the record 
volumes and the files of the New London Probate District 
prior to 1700 were burned ; Hartford, New London and New 
Haven Districts retain all their own record volumes, as does 
Fairfield except for the first ten volumes which are deposited 
at the State Library. The files of all these districts, and of 
most of the probate districts which later were set off from 
them, are at the State Library, where the estates have been 
completely indexed. From time to time, for convenience, pro- 
bate districts were split up, until today all the larger towns 
and some of the smaller ones have their own probate districts. 
A helpful list, both by district and by town, is printed in the 
front of the first volume of Manwaring's Digest, already 


mentioned under printed sources. See also the 1928 Report of 
the Examiner of Public Records for a list of the files deposited 
up to that date at the State Library. 

Other early Probate Districts of importance are Guilford, 
Windham and Woodbury, established in 1719, Stamford in 
1728, Litchfield in 1742, Danbury in 1744, Plainfield in 1747, 
Norwich in 1748, Middletown in 1752, and Sharon in 1755. 
The only old districts which still retain their files are Guilford 
and Stamford ; these places have to be visited to examine the 
probate records, not only of the towns themselves, but of some 
neighboring towns which formerly belonged to those districts. 
However, it is always a wise precaution to examine both the 
files and the record volumes, for some files are incomplete and 
many court orders in the record books have no counterpart 
in the files; on the other hand, disapproved wills and some- 
times receipts from heirs and other documents were placed in 
the files without being recorded. 

Superior Courts. — The original Superior Court was the 
Court of Assistants (the upper house of the legislature) which 
convened at stated intervals in the different counties to hear 
appeals from the lower court or the probate court and to try 
the more serious cases. One of its important functions was to 
act on petitions for divorce. The records of the Superior 
Court to 1796 are at the State Library, arranged by counties, 
and with dockets for each year, but unindexed. After 1796 
each county had its own permanent Superior Court, and the 
records should be sought at the appropriate county seat, un- 
less its files have been sent to the State Library. 

Since, as each year passes, more and more records are de- 
posited by the towns and counties and probate districts with 
the State Library, it is wise to ascertain first of all whether 
the records one desires to consult are there. 

Library Collections. — The State Library has the dupli- 
cate copy of every Connecticut Census from 1790 to 1870, in- 
clusive. The schedules are unindexed, and have to be read 
through to locate desired items. It has also, in addition to the 
Hale Collection already described, copies of the inscriptions in 


many cemeteries (for a list see the 1930 Report of the State 
Librarian). Of manuscript compilations we mention only, as 
samples, Colonel Parkhurst's New London Families, and Olm- 
stead's East Hartford Families and, most important, Bar- 
bour's Hartford Families, 

The Connecticut Historical Society, in addition to church 
and cemetery records and manuscript genealogies, complete or 
partial, of many individual families, has several large col- 
lections made by professional genealogists, of which the most 
valuable is perhaps that of Mrs. Elisha E. Rogers, the able 
Norwich genealogist, who worked for years in New London 
and Windham Counties. There are also the Weaver manu- 
script of Windham families, the Gay collection of Farming- 
ton data, and the collection of Charles Camp of New Haven. 
Such collections are not public documents and doubtless con- 
tain errors, since genealogists in their work often copy data 
from all kinds of sources, knowing what to accept and what to 
discard, and all such collections, no matter how useful and 
valuable, the consultant must learn to use with reserve. 

The Middlesex County Historical Society at Middletown 
owns the manuscript collection of Frank Farnsworth Starr, 
which contains copies of church and cemetery records made 
years ago, some of the cemeteries having disappeared since 
these copies were made. 

There is space to refer but briefly to the Fairfield Historical 
Society, which has copies of many church and cemetery rec- 
ords of Fairfield County and the manuscripts of Orrando P. 
Dexter and Winthrop H. Perry ; the New Haven Colony His- 
torial Society, which owns Nathan G. Pond's and George 
Clarke Bryant's manuscripts of Milford families, Ralph D. 
Smith's early collection of Guilford data, Dr. Alvan Talcott's 
compilation of Guilford families (a copy of which is at the 
State Library), and Haven's East Haven families; and the 
New London Historical Society, which has valuable manu- 
script collections relating to that county. 



The records of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, 
both of Colony and State, are very different from those of any 
other state. The only county records are those of the Superior 
Court, all other records being in the custody of the town clerk 
in whose town the land sales and other business occurs. In 
order to understand fully the reasons for keeping the records 
in this manner, a short account of the history of Rhode Island 
is necessary. 

Providence, the first town and now the capital of the state, 
was founded in 1636, Portsmouth in 1638, and Newport in 
1639. Warwick was started in 1643, but no action was taken 
by the inhabitants as a town until 1647. In that year, the 
four towns united under the Earl of Warwick's charter, but 
each town had the same relationship to the central Colonial 
government as each state now has to the government in Wash- 
ington. Each town kept its own land evidence, probate mat- 
ters, and the vital records which were commenced very early. 
As new towns were formed, the same procedure was followed, 
and it has been continued ever since. 

The early Land Evidence contains grants of land to the in- 
habitants. As the colony was purchased from the Indians 
by the first settlers, the lands were granted by the towns and 
not by the King as was usual in some of the Colonies. As the 
area of Rhode Island itself is small, these grants are almost 
neligible when compared with those of some of the southern 
states whose western borders seemed limitless. On the island 
of Rhode Island, after the farms were given out, the usual 
grant of land was 12 acres to each freeman. The Land Evi- 
dence also contains deeds, mortgages and leases, and fence 
agreements which sometimes give useful information about 
the owners not found elsewhere. 

A closer relationship and personal knowledge of the de- 
ceased often gave to these local probate court records a more 
intimate touch than is found in the records made by a county 
probate court. Often, when a man died intestate a will was 
made by those neighbors of his who knew his family and 


circumstances. The probate records were kept separate from 
the regular town council business, and if they were written in 
the same book, they were generally placed in the back of the 

The colony of Rhode Island always called the governing 
body of the town a Council except during the regime of Sir 
Edmund Andros as Governor of the New England Colonies, 
1686-89. Andros ordered the governing body to be called 
Selectmen and dictated the method of electing them and their 
length of service, but as soon as Andros was deposed, the town 
returned to their "Councils". 

The records of these councils as a governing body give a 
survey of the towns and their inhabitants which probably sur- 
passes the early town records of any other colony. One of 
the duties of the council was to watch the strangers who came 
into the town and to see that they either bought real estate or 
gave a bond from their last legal place of abode. Otherwise, 
they were warned out of town. Often these warnings gave 
not only the name of the man but also the names of his family. 

The town meeting records also give some information 
which may be useful to the genealogist. Besides the usual 
election of town officers, there was other business which was 
sometimes finished by the council. The names of new inhabi- 
tants and strangers often occur in these records as well as the 
poor of the town, among whom the transient school master 
may often be found. 

The law for recording marriages, births and deaths was 
passed by Warwick in 1647 and the other towns soon followed 
but, as there was no penalty attached to this law, the records 
are by no means complete. These vital records up to 1850 
were compiled by James N. Arnold and published by the state 
in 1883. Unfortunately, they contain some errors, those of 
Little Compton being copied from a book made by the town 
clerk who had added a number of items which are based on 
hearsay and guesswork. For this reason, any vital records of 
this town should be carefully checked by all means obtainable. 

The various records in most of the towns are practically 
complete. North Kingstown had a fire which damaged nearly 


all the books, but they have since been repaired and a great 
deal can be found in them. Two of the books of Richmond 
were completely destroyed by fire. The earliest records of 
Providence were destroyed when the Indians burned part of 
the town in 1675. The records of Newport were carried to 
New York by the Tory town clerk when the British left New- 
port in 1779 and the vessel on which they were carried was 
sunk on the way. The ship was later raised and the records 
returned to Newport. The salt water had damaged some of 
the papers, and, although they have been cleaned and mounted 
on silk, some of them are almost blank. 

The towns of Bristol, Little Compton, Tiverton and Warren 
were in Bristol County, Massachusetts, until 1747. All rec- 
ords of these towns before that date are to be found in Taun- 
ton, Massachusetts. The records of East Providence and part 
of Pawtucket prior to 1862 are also to be found in Taunton. 
Fall River, Rhode Island, which comprised the northern part 
of Tiverton was ceded to Massachusetts in 1862 and records 
after that date are either to be found in Fall River or Taunton, 

As time went on, the early towns were cut into smaller ones ; 
the number of towns now in the state is 39. Of course, the 
old records stayed in the parent town, each new town starting 
a set of records of its own. This sometimes causes trouble 
for the searcher, especially if the date of the incorporation is 
not known. The Report on the Archives of Rhode Island, by 
Clarence S. Brigham, will, if the searcher can obtain a copy 
from some library, give these dates, explain the division and 
tell where these various records may be found. 

Many of the inhabitants of Newport embraced the Quaker 
faith in 1657 and it soon spread over the whole colony. The 
Friends' records contain a vast amount of genealogical ma- 
terial, those of the southern part of the state being in the cus- 
tody of the Newport Historical Society, while those of the 
northern part are to be found at the Moses Brown School in 

The State House at Providence contains the archives of the 


state and colony comprising the records of the governing body, 
some of the older court records and the first record book of the 
Island of Rhode Island. This book contains the Compact 
made and signed in Boston in 1683 before the signers left that 
town to found Portsmouth. Here, too, are some of the state 
census records, the rest being in the custody of the Rhode Is- 
land Historical Society of Providence. Another source of in- 
formation is the index of thousands of names which appear on 
petitions to the legislature. 

The Rhode Island Historical Society now has custody of a 
large collection of original papers of every conceivable kind, 
mounted and bound, which formerly were in the Providence 
City Hall. Although these are called The Providence Papers, 
all parts of the colony are represented and considerable mis- 
cellaneous information can be gained from them. The main 
trouble which occurs in searching this collection is deciding 
which classification applies to the person wanted. The papers 
are indexed by subject matter, and may be confusing to the in- 
experienced searcher. 

Both the Newport and Rhode Island Historical Societies 
contain many original records of all kinds which are fully in- 
dexed. Each society has very full newspaper files and old 
account books as well as genealogical libraries, that of the 
Rhode Island Society being especially fine. 

Although Rhode Island had many early "Counts of Inhabi- 
tants", the first census giving the names of the heads of fami- 
lies was taken in 1774; this has been published. A military 
census was taken in 1777 but, as part of the state was occupied 
by the British troops at that time, it is not complete. In 1782, 
another census was taken, this time of the entire state. 
Others, giving the names of all members of the families, were 
taken in 1865, 1875 and 1887. 

Of the printed books on Rhode Island which will help the 
genealogist, Austin's Genealogical Dictionary is outstanding, 
especially if used with G. Andrews Moriarty's "Additions and 
Corrections" in the several volumes of The American Gene- 
alogist. The Rhode Island Historical Quarterly probably 


ranks next with the publications of the Newport Historical 
Society following. The Narragansett Historical Register 
gives considerable information about the people of Washing- 
ton County. Smith's Lists and the Rhode Island Colonial Rec- 
ords also give considerable information. The Providence 
Oath of Allegiance and its Signers, and Rhode Island Colonial 
Money and its Counterfeiting, two books by Richard LeBaron 
Bowen, contain a wealth of genealogical data. The first books 
of Portsmouth and Warwick contain much genealogical ma- 
terial. Providence has printed many of its early records and 
many of the smaller towns have published their histories. In 
using the published biographical books and county histories, 
one must frequently use caution as some of the genealogical 
lines contained in them are unproven and merely hearsay. 




New York City is a complex organism. Greater New York 
is composed of five boroughs, each constituting a county of 
New York State. The boroughs are : Manhattan (New York 
County), the Bronx (Bronx County), Brooklyn (Kings 
County), Queens (Queens County), and Richmond (Richmond 
County) . For the purposes of the present section, the records 
of Manhattan only will be considered ; the boroughs of Kings 
and Queens are considered in Section C, Long Island. 

Genealogical Reference Works 

As is to be expected from a city the size and importance of 
New York City, many printed works dealing with the gene- 
alogies of its families have been published. These are second- 
ary works and, as emphasized in other chapters, they must be 
treated as such; whenever possible, original sources must be 
consulted. However, they provide much information on the 
city's old families, many of which can be traced to the period 
of Dutch rule. 

The principal genealogical reference works for this area 
are : Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York 
and the Hudson River Valley, by Cuyler Reynolds (3 vols., 
1914) ; the same author's Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and 
Family Memoirs (4 vols., 1911) ; Genealogical and Family His- 
tory of Southern New York, by William Richard Cutter; 1 
Famous Families of New York, by Margherita Arlina Hamm 
(2 vols., 1902) ; and Early Settlers of New York State, Their 
Ancestors and Descendants, by T. J. Foley (1934-37). 

* Grateful acknowledgement is made to Miss Rosalie Fellows Bailey, 
who critically reviewed this section and contributed many valuable sug- 
gestions for its improvement, and to Dr. Herbert F. Seversmith, for 
providing much information relating to the genealogical bibliography 
of New York City. 

1 Mr. Cutter also published works of similar nature for Central, North- 
ern and Western New York. 


We are inclined to think of early New York as being so 
distinctively Dutch that we occasionally forget there was a 
large Scandinavian population on Manhattan Island during 
the New Netherland regime. In fact, it has been recorded 
that in 1643 there were no fewer than 18 different languages 
spoken in the city — evidence of its cosmopolitan character 
over three centuries ago. In 1916, Dr. John 0. Evjen pub- 
lished his Scandinavian Immigrants in Neiv York, 1630-167 'U; 
not only does he give briefly the histories of the Norwegian, 
Danish and Swedish immigrants and their familes, but he also 
has appendices on the Scandinavians in Mexico and South 
America, 1532-1640; Scandinavians in Canada, 1619-20; 
Some Scandinavians in New York in the Eighteenth Century ; 
and German Immigrants in New York, 1630-74. 

The late William J. Hoffman, F. G. B. S., F. A. S. G., ren- 
dered an outstanding service to students of colonial genealogy 
when he published his "Armory of American Families of 
Dutch Descent" in The New York Genealogical and Biographi- 
cal Record from 1933 to 1941. This periodical, the organ of 
the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, was 
founded in 1870, and it has published hundreds of other family 
genealogies as well as a tremendous amount of source ma- 
terials. Other works of general importance for the student 
of early New York genealogy are T. G. Bergen's Register of 
the Early Settlers of Kings County; with Contributions to 
their Biographies and Genealogies (1881), and James Riker's 
Harlem, Its Origin and Early Annals, Notices of Its Founders 
Before Emigration; also Sketches of Numerous Families 

Printed Sources 

The student of New York genealogy will find a wealth of 
published sources at his disposal. A basic work is Isaac New- 
ton Stokes' great Iconography of Manhattan; it is particu- 
larly valuable for early land and ownership titles. The New 
York Historical Society's many volumes of Collections con- 
tain abstracts of wills from the earliest period to 1800 ; muster 
rolls of provincial troops, 1755-64 ; indentures of apprentices, 


1718-27; tax lists, 1696-99; deeds 1672/3/75; Revolutionary 
War muster and pay rolls, 1775-83, etc. 

The Colonial Dames of the State of New York have issued 
volumes entitled Calendar of Wills on File and Recorded in the 
Offices of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals, of the County 
Clerk at Albany and of the State of New York, 1626-1836 
(1896), and Minutes of the Orphanmasters of New Amster- 
dam, 1665 to 1863, by Berthold Fernow (2 vols., 1902-7). Es- 
pecially valuable for the Dutch period is The Record of Neiv 
Amsterdam from 1653 to 167 U, edited by Berthold Fernow 
(7 vols., 1897) ; it contains, among other records, the minutes 
of the Court of Burgomasters and Schepens. 

New York City church records have been published in abun- 
dance. In its Collections (as distinguished from its periodi- 
cal, the Record) the New York Genealogical and Biographical 
Society has published Reformed Dutch Church registers of 
New Amsterdam, as well as other communities in the former 
province. Other Reformed Dutch Church records have been 
published by The Holland Society of New York, including 
the Record of the Dominee Henricus Sehjns, Minister of the 
Reformed Dutch Church at Nieuw Amsterdam. (1916). The 
Ecclesiastical Records, State of Neiv York (7 vols., 1901-16), 
covers the period 1621-1801, and is invaluable for historical, 
biographical and genealogical purposes. 

Of importance for the student of New York City genealogy 
and history of the Calendar of New York Historical Manu- 
scripts Dutch (especially valuable for 17th century settlers), 
and the 15-volume Documents Relating to the Colonial History 
of the State of New York (1853-87) . 

Indispensable for the student of New York City is the 
Guide to Genealogical and Biographical Sources for New York 
City (Manhattan), 1783-1898, by Rosalie Fellows Bailey, 
A. B., F. A. S. G., with introduction by John Ross Delafield, 
LL.B., D. S. M. (afterwards F. A. S. G.). In this 100-page 
work, Miss Bailey comprehensively discusses Probate and Re- 
lated Records ; Means of Identifying the Church of an Officiat- 
ing Minister ; Name Lists and Biographical Sketches by Occu- 
pation; other Name Lists; Education, Memberships, Wealth, 


etc. ; the Non-Native New Yorker, State and Federal Census 
Records; Maps, Street, and Land Records; Burial Records 
and Cemeteries; Military Records; Vital Statistics; Church 
Records; and many other subjects. The Guide begins with 
the year 1783, because, as she observes, "the half century or so 
following" the Revolution is often the most difficult period in 
America for which to find first-class proof of a lineage." 

Public Records 

Probate and Estate Records. 2 — The basic material relat- 
ing to wills, administration records, etc., is on file at the Sur- 
rogate's Office, Hall of Records, Chambers Street, New York, 
N. Y. It contains wills, 1665-1927; administration bonds, 
1742-1828, 1835-1926; letters of administration, 1743-1927; 
guardianship bond books, 1802-1927; Record of Dower, 1831- 
1927; letters testamentary, 1830-1927; renunciation of exec- 
utors, 1831-1914, etc. The first 56 libers of wills, covering 
the period 1665-1823, were lithographed in 1870-71, and may 
be seen at the New York Historical Society, 77th Street and 
Central Park West, New York, N. Y. The New York His- 
torical Society also has 610 original papers relating to inven- 
tories of estates in the Southern District of New York. The 
New York County Clerk's Office, Room 703, Hall of Records, 
Chambers Street, has 7 libers of wills recorded in the Supreme 
Court, 1787-1829, 1847-83, and in the Court of Common Pleas, 
1805-29, 1886-92, with a card index. 

Land Records. — The Office of the Register of New York 
County, Hall of Records, Chambers Street, has a complete set 
of conveyance libers for Manhattan since 1683, 3 of mortgage 
libers since 1754, and of power of attorney libers since 1825. 
Until 1811, many deeds were recorded with the Secretary of 
State, hence it is always well to consult the records of the Land 
Office at Albany, where there are good card indexes. All 

2 See Rosalie Fellows Bailey's article on probate records in the New 
York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 81, in which she criti- 
cally compares the official indexes with the abstracts published by the 
New York Historical Society. 

8 Deeds and mortgages of earlier dates are in the City Clerk's Office. 
See the Holland Society Yearbooks for 1900 and 1901. 


readily identifiable land records are now grouped in a special 
series called "Re-Indexed Conveyances". Charles F. Grim's 
An Essay Towards an Improved Register of Deeds, City and 
County of New York to Dec. 31, 1799, inclusive (1832), con- 
tains an "Index of Deeds in the Office of the Secretary of State 
that relate to lands in the City and County of New York, as so 
lettered." The 51-volume Index of Conveyances Recorded in 
the Office of the Register of the City and County of New York 
(1857-58) should also be consulted. 

Vital Statistics. — New York State records of vital statis- 
tics were not kept until 1880, but they were maintained at 
earlier dates in New York City. The New York City records 
are on file in the Bureau of Records and Statistics, City De- 
partment of Health, 125 Worth St., New York 13, N. Y. The 
original records are not available to the general public, but, 
fortunately, they have been microfilmed and the films may be 
examined there free of charge by researchers. The Depart- 
ment of Health will make a search of the records for a fee. 
Microfilms of death records are at the New York Genealogical 
and Biographical Society for the use of members only. The 
law for registering births and marriages in the city was effec- 
tive 1 July 1853, although some birth records go back to 1842 
and some marriage records to as early as 1829, but they are 
very scanty. A city ordinance of 26 October 1801 required 
the registration of deaths ; this was a means of studying pos- 
sible health measures for controlling epidemics. Sextons and 
others in charge of burial places in the city were ordered to 
make weekly reports on burials to the municipal authorities. 
Even so, there are gaps in the records, but starting with 1866, 
the death records are rather complete. In 1958, records prior 
to 1866 were transferred to the Municipal Archives and Rec- 
ords Center, 238 William St., New York, N. Y. 

Naturalization Records. — The naturalization records of 
the Supreme Court, the Superior Court, the Court of Common 
Pleas, and (before 1821) the Mayors Court commence in 1792. 
They are under the jurisdiction of the New York County Clerk 
and are located (with card indexes) in Room 315, Supreme 
Court Building, 60 Centre Street, New York, N. Y. The Unit- 


ed States District Court's records (1824-1906) are main- 
tained, with a consolidated index for all New York Courts be- 
fore 1906, by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, U. 
S. Department of Justice, New York, N. Y. Pre-1824 
naturalization records are at The National Archives in Wash- 
ington, D. C. 

Census Records. — The 1855 State Census for Manhattan, 
at the County Clerk's Office, 31 Chambers Street, New York, 
N. Y., gives the number of years resident here, whether 
native-born or naturalized alien, county of birth, if in New 
York State, relationship to head of household, etc. The 1890 
New York City police census for Manhattan and part of the 
Bronx, replaces the burned Federal Census of that year. The 
1905, 1915, and 1925 State censuses for New York City are at 
the County Clerk's Office, 60 Centre Street, together with re- 
cently completed master indexes of street addresses. The only 
comprehensive census for the colonial period was in 1703; it 
has been printed. 

Maps. — Maps are important for all parts of the country, but 
for the complicated New York City they are absolutely essen- 
tial. Early 19th century maps show the names and locations 
of many of the city's landowners, churches, cemeteries, and 
other institutions. The Office of the Register of New York 
County maintains a map room in Room 104, Hall of Records, 
Chambers St. The Register has custody of 5,200 filed maps, 
approximately 5,000 maps copied from conveyance libers, 
thousands of maps taken from various public offices of the 
city, and numerous maps reconstructed from descriptions in 
old conveyances or old maps platted on present street lines, 
etc. Other important repositories for maj)s in the city are 
the New York Public Library and the New York Historical 

Church Records 

Records of the many churches that have existed in New 
York City for several centuries are extremely important, but 
we can only touch on them briefly in this section of the New 


York chapter. The headquarters of the principal denomi- 
nations are (all in New York City, unless otherwise stated) : 
Baptist: Baptist City Society, 152 Madison Ave.; Roman 
Catholic: Chancery of the Archdiocese of New York, 451 
Madison Ave. ; Episcopal: Registrar of the Diocese of New 
York, 1047 Amsterdam Ave. ; Methodist: Methodist Historical 
Society Library, 150 Fifth Ave., and the New York Public 
Library (Manuscripts Division), where are all the Methodist 
records ; Presbyterian: New York Presbytery Office, 156 Fifth 
Ave. ; Quaker: Keeper of the Records, Friends Meeting House, 
221 E. 15th St. (for Friends' records of the entire State of 
New York) ; and Reformed Dutch: Gardiner Sage Library, 
Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, N. J. For details of 
churches, records, and denominations, consult Bailey, Guide to 
Genealogical and Biographical Sources . . . (1954), pp. 59-65; 
and W. P. A. Historical Records Survey's Guide to Vital Statis- 
tics in the City of New York; Borough of Manhattan — 
Churches (1942), and Inventory of the Church Archives in 
New York City (unfinished). 

The manuscript collections of the New York Genealogical 
and Biographical Society contain transcripts of virtually all 
New York City churches, except the German Reformed, which 
are at the New York Historical Society. 


General Information 

Upstate New York in this section is Albany County of 1683 x 
within present limits of the State, 2 exclusive of the Hudson 

1 Map of "The Original Counties of 1683", the ten within the Province 
of New York and in insets its two dependencies, Cornwall Co., Maine, and 
Dukes Co., Mass., in History of the State of New York, ed. by A. C. 
Flick, State Historian, 10 vols. N. Y. 1933-1937. II, op. 112. 

2 Report of the Regents of the University on the Boundaries of the State 
of N. Y. 2 vols. Albany, 1874, 1884 (N. Y. Sen. doc. 1873, no. 108, and, 
1877, no. 61 with a continuation by D. J. Pratt). 


Valley, its expansion in 1763 into New France, 3 its gradual 
extension into the Iroquois or Six Nations country 4 and final 
annexation following the Revolution. 

All white settlements, except part of Delaware Co. taken in 
1797 from Ulster, 5 were in Albany prior to its division in 1772 e 
when Tryon Co. was created of its western and Charlotte Co. 
of its northern frontier. It retained chiefly its Hudson Val- 
ley. In 1784, Tryon Co. was renamed Montgomery Co., and 
Charlotte Co., Washington Co. A map, based on the re- 
organization Act of 7 March 1788, 7 shows all of the Six Na- 
tions lands annexed to Montgomery Co. The Act created 
Clinton Co. from the northern frontier of Washington. It 
gives the boundaries of Montgomery "E. by counties of Ul- 
ster, Albany, Washington and Clinton, S. by State of Penn- 
sylvania, W. & N. by bounds of State." The then Tryon and 
Charlotte are now 42 counties. 

For creation of subsequent counties, see "Data Relating to 
the Organization of Several Counties of New York State", in 
New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, LIV, Jan., 
1923, pp. 18-19, giving County Seat, Date Organized, Original 

3 Atlas of American History, by J. T. Adams. N. Y. 1943. Plate 38, 
"New Eng.— N. Y.— New France frontier 1690-1753." Plate 29, "New 
France to 1763". 

4 At the coming of the white man, the Iroquois, then "Five Nations", 
possessed all lands south of the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario between 
the Hudson and the Genesee Rivers. By 1653, they had extended their 
lands to New York's western boundaries. Indian deeds and treaties 
were recorded in the Secretary of State's Office. Thesis of R. S. Rose (see 
footnote 31) states Vol. I, 1692-1714 was lost in the State Library fire. 

*N. Y. Statutes, 1832, 426 states the legislature transferred some rec- 
ords from Ulster to Delaware, Greene and Sullivan Counties. Those 
sent to Sullivan Co. were probably lost in its court house fire, 13 Jan. 

6 Disregarding Cumberland and Gloucester Counties because their areas 
are in Vermont. 

7 "A map of the State of New York with its counties defined by Statute, 
7 March 1788", is frontispiece to Proceedings of the Commissioners of 
Indian Affairs appointed by law for the Extinguishment of Indian Titles 
in State of N. Y., an original manuscript in the Library of the Albany 
Institute with an Introduction by F. B. Hough, Albany, 1861. 


or parent county ; 8 years agree with legislative acts in all ex- 
cept Schuyler erected 17 April 1854, not 1859. (This is a 
common error; however, its county officers were elected Nov. 
1854 and the County Clerk's office has its state census for 

In the "Introduction" to the summary of the New York 
State Census of 1855 and also of 1865, F. B. Hough gives 
under each county its towns, dates formed and from what. 
Those with a colonial origin are given as original towns be- 
ginning with the Reorganizaton Act of 1788, even though they 
may have had earlier records. 

Obsolete towns with county, date organized, date changed 
and to what are given in New York Civil List for 1889. Self- 
governing units within the county consist of towns, incor- 
porated villages and cities. A town may have one or more in- 
corporated villages within its limits over which it has no juris- 
diction. Adelaide R. Hasse cites a list of 1897 with dates of 
incorporation. 9 

A List of Books relating to the History of the State of New 
York, by School Library Division of the University (Albany, 
1916), lists county histories for all counties except Hamilton, 
for which no separate history has been issued, and other local 
histories. 10 Unless a county history quotes public records, it is 

8 History of St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties New York, by F. B. 
Hough, Albany, 1853, 205, 238 and 329, gives the names of the ten town- 
ships of unappropriated lands of Montgomery Co., established 10 Sept. 
1787 (Land Office Minutes I, 264 Secy, of State's Office). They were in 
Montgomery, Oneida and Herkimer counties when taken to form the 
Town of Lisbon and annexed to Clinton Co. 1801. It also gives the 
petition and petitioners for the county of St. Lawrence and also for the 
Town of Lisbon and its electors of 1801. These are valuable for names 
of early inhabitants. 

9 "Special Report of Commissioners of statutory revision re villages and 
date of incorporation. 1897, 20 pp. (Sen. doc. 27, 1897 v. 4)", under 
General Works, Part I, in Index of Economic Material in Documents of 
the States of the United States. New York, 17 89-190 A. By A. R. Hasse. 
Publ. by Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1907. 

10 It should be noted that Bib lio graphy of County Histories of 3111 
Counties in the US States, compiled by C. S. Peterson, 1946, is very in- 
complete for New York State. It omits 14 counties, of which 13 have 
published histories. It inserts Tolland Co., which is in Connecticut, and 
erroneously states that New York has 102 counties. It has 62. 


apt to omit transitory families. Upper New York has had an 
unusual share of these. Mohawk Valley and beyond has al- 
ways been the chief thoroughfare westward from eastern 
New York, and all of New England and the Susquehanna Val- 
ley from Pennsylvania and the South. Public records of 
county or town often reveal transients. Washington Co., not 
a general thoroughfare except from Canada, was more nor- 
mally settled. There, wars depopulated the area, leaving few 
pre-Revolutionary public records. 11 Fire, neglect and permis- 
sions to destroy after five years, have depleted public records. 
There was no state supervision till 1911. 

The British burned the court house at Buffalo in 1813, and 
at Plattsburgh, county seat of Clinton Co., in 1814 but not its 
records. At Buffalo the fire destroyed records of Niagara and 
Cattaraugus Counties, 1808 to 1813, and those of Chautauqua 
prior to 1811. When Erie Co. was f jrmed from Niagara Co. 
in 1821, Buffalo, formerly county seat of Niagara, became the 
county seat of Erie; the records remained with Erie, which 
included Cattaraugus Co., until 1817. The records of Herki- 
mer Co., formed in 1791, begin with 1804. (A clerk stated 
earlier records were burned.) French's Gazetteer 1L ' says Onei- 
da (formed in 1798) took Whitesboro, Herkimer's county 
seat, and kept the records. Cayuga, formed from Onondaga 
Co. in 1799, took Onondaga's records; Onondaga copied the 
deeds and mortgages but not the other records. 1 " 

There were two independent Historical Records Survey 
groups in New York, one for New York City and its five 
counties, and the other for the 57 remaining counties, called 
"upstate". Survey workers inventoried all counties except 
Hamilton and originally planned to issue inventories of all 

11 The Town Book of Willsborough (Essex Co.) commencing' 10 June 1765, 
when in Albany Co., was published in Pioneer History of the Champlain 
Valley, by W. C. Watson. Albany 1863. 

v - Gazetteer of the State of New York, ed. by J. H. French, Albany 1860. 
(P. 458; footnote 9.) 2nd edition, ed. by F. B. Hough, 1872. 

13 The copies made may be only for the area remaining in Onondaga Co. 
The county has preserved many other records beginning with 1799. It ia 
doubtful if Cayuga preserved all those for 1794-98 which she kept. 


counties (57), towns (932) and municipalities (614). 14 The 
Historical Records Survey, issued Inventories of County Ar- 
chives for Albany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Che- 
mung, Ulster, Part II, and had five more counties nearly ready 
when the Survey ended 30 June 1942. The final report 15 
states that it left at the State Library at Albany "files of notes, 
forms and data", and "there one may consult the material 
from which publications were planned". Each county has its 
own method of recording and varies greatly in what has been 
preserved. It would have been valuable if all inventories had 
been issued. Onondaga is probably the only upstate county 
which has a published inventory of its county, towns, villages 
and city. 1 '' It has given fuller details in its records or pre- 
served more than most counties. Cortland and Montgomery 
Counties have copied the records of all of their towns. 17 

In 1844, 1881, 1907 and 1910, before the fire of 1911 which 
almost totally destroyed the State Library, the Legislature had 
transferred many specified state archives to it. The Library 
specializes in history and genealogy so the numerous un- 
published manuscripts that perished were a tremendous loss 
to both professions. The 94th Annual Report of the Neiv 
York State Library and the 8th Annual Report of the Edu- 
cation Department, both for 1911, give the official reports on 
the fire. The latter contains a list of the principal sets of 
manuscripts and the approximate salvage of each. Subse- 
quently, officers of departments, political units, societies, etc., 
created by the state were given authority to transfer records, 

" Based on statistics for 1934 in Flick's History of the State of New 
York, VII, 277. 

15 "Final Report: The Historical Records Survey in Upstate New York, 
1936-1942", by G. W. Roach, in New York History, XXIV, April 1943, 39- 
55, bound as Proceedings of New York State Historical Association, XLI. 

i6 "p u bii c Records of Onondaga County", by Herbert L. Osgood in Annual 
Report of American Historical Association for 1900, Wash. 1901, II, 147- 
163. (See footnote 22.) 

17 Address "On historical activities in New York State", by Dr. A. C. Flick, 
State Historian, before New York State Historical Association, 2 Oct. 
1935. Proceedings XXXIV, 1936, 54-58. 


etc., not in general use to the State Library. 18 Its vast col- 
lection of unpublished manuscripts make it the chief place for 
Upper New York general genealogical research. It reports 
that it has public records of 38 New York counties; at least 
half and probably more are Upper New York counties. A few 
local libraries have more on their own localities than has the 
State Library. The American Library Directory, under New 
York, lists all places with libraries, gives, size and special col- 
lections of each. From this can be learned nearly all which 
specialize in local history and genealogy. The finding lists of 
genealogy and local history of the Grosvenor Library of Buf- 
falo and of the Syracuse Public Library, both published sever- 
al decades ago, show they were then good research places. 19 
The Syracuse Public Library has enhanced the value of its de- 
partment by many supplied name indexes. Rochester Public 
Library's special collection is the Rochester Historical Society 
Library. For the old part of Upper New York, the Mohawk 
Valley, the best research place is the Montgomery County De- 
partment of History and Archives at Fonda. They have pre- 
pared many name indexes to their material. All interested in 
Mohawk families should read L. W. McFee's "Ancestral Trails 
Along the Mohawk", with the "Addenda" in New York Gene- 
alogical and Biographical Record, LXXII, April 1941, pp. 

Guide to Depositories of Manuscript Collections in New 
York State, issued by the Historical Records Survey which has 
an excellent index, describes 226 public and private deposi- 
tories. Among the holdings in the State Library it lists 35 col- 
lections, 55 other holdings and 23 prized manuscripts. The 

18 New York State Legislative Manual, 1945, p. 243. 

19 Grosvenor Library Bulletin no. 1, 1900 and Sup. 1 March 1903; Finding 
List of Genealogies and Local History. Syracuse, n. d. (1902), & Supp. 


New York State Historical Association, in 1944 published a 
supplement to the Guide covering seven depositories. 20 

Court Records 

The state judiciary continued the colonial courts. The 
Legislature, in 1778, took from the Governor his power over 
wills, intestate estates and marriage licenses, vested them in 
the Court of Probates and, in 1782, transferred such records 
and papers from the Secretary of State to the judge of such 
court with instructions to make a list of wills to be seen by 
anyone. This court was absorbed by the Court of Chancery in 
1823 and received its records. The Court of Chancery was 
abolished in 1846 and the records, except a few papers in the 
offices of various county clerks, were deposited in the Court of 
Appeals building in Albany. 21 Records can be consulted in its 
office. Some wills were transferred to Suffolk Co., but there 
remained 1,660 wills of all counties, 1671-1800, and of the 
older counties, other commonwealths and foreign countries, to 
1825. 22 B. Fernow calendared the wills in the Court of Ap- 
peals, County Clerk of Albany, and Secretary of State offices, 
1626-1836. 28 

Details as to organization of courts can be ascertained from 
references cited in the footnote. 24 In general, the County 
Clerk is custodian of records, except that in counties having 

20 A selection was published as "Guide to Ten Major Depositories of Manu- 
script Collections in New York State (exclusive of N. Y. City)" in Pro- 
ceedings of the Middle States Association of History and Social Science 
Teachers, 1940-41, XXXVIII, pt. 2. 

21 American Revolution in New York, "4" on p. 279 (see footnote 29) ; 
New York State Laws, 26 March 1782, I, ch. 24, 5th sess., 439; Statutes 
1829, p. 279; and Introduction to Albany County Archives (see footnote 

22 Inventory of State Archives, p. 129, by Prof. H. L. Osgood in his "Re- 
port of the Public Archives of New York State" (67-250) as part of the 
"First Report of the Public Archives Commission," issued as v. II of the 
Annual Report of the American HistoHcal Association for 1900. Wash. 

23 Published by the Colonial Dames of the State of New York 1896. 

24 Introduction to Albany County Archives, no. 1, of H. R. S. Inventory of 
County Archives (exclusive of N. Y. City), Oct. 1937. Session laws; and 
The Courts of the State of New York, by H. W. Scott. N. Y., 1909. 


more than 40,000 inhabitants, a separate surrogate's office was 
established in 1846. 

The Surrogate's office is usually at the county seat, but that 
for Washington Co. is at Salem and that for Warren Co. is at 
Glens Falls. "Surrogates Courts and Records in the Colony 
and State of New York, 1664-1847", by R. W. Vosburgh, with 
references and annotations, is in New York State Historical 
Association Proceedings, vol. XX (1922), pp. 105-116. Ad- 
ditional family data not in the wills, intestate and guardian- 
ship records may be found in the miscellaneous files not item- 
ized in the indexes. Of special interest are the petitions for 
probate or administration in which are given date of death, 
where, and last residence of the deceased, whether survived by 
husband or wife and list of next of kin, whether legatees or 
not, with relationship to the deceased and their addresses. 
Abstracts of wills, letters of administration, and indexes prior 
to 1850 have been compiled for many upper New York 
counties and manuscript copies sold, many being purchased by 
the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. 

An Amendment to the Constitution of 1894 authorized the 
legislature to establish Childrens Courts. By 1930, the only 
upstate countries having separate judges were Albany, Erie, 
Jefferson, Montgomery and the City of Syracuse. In other 
counties the County Judge or Special County Judge conducts 
the Childrens Court and its records are filed with the County 
Clerk. 25 Before 1922, children cases would be in the court 
minutes, etc., with adult cases. Often, County Clerks filed 
separately infancy papers, indentures of apprentices and 
bonds appointing guardians. Other miscellaneous court files 
found sometimes in County Clerk's offices consist of naturali- 
zation, divorces, adoptions, judgment rolls of various kinds, 
including partitions of estates with much family data, lists of 
jurors qualified to serve from towns and municipalities and 
those disqualified to serve by age, removal or death, declara- 
tions concerning age, etc. 26 For a printed list of court reports, 

26 CahiU's Consolidated Laws, 1930, pp. 2698-2706, cited in Albany County 


26 Based on records found in the Onondaga County Clerk's office. 


etc., consult List of Official Court Reports of New York, latest 
Digests, Indexes, Citations and of Law, Journals, Docu- 
ments of the Legislature, by New York State Library. 27 

Description of Federal court records and their whereabouts 
in 1939 are found in Inventories of Federal Archives of New 
York State: The Federal Courts and The Department of 
Justice, issued by the Historical Records Survey. 

Land Records 

Land grants and patents issued since the colonial wars have 
been chiefly for land in Upper New York. The British in 
1761 forbade purchasing directly from the Indians. The area 
in New York was defined as the Treaty of Stanwix line of 
1768. 28 The Convention of Representatives of the State of 
New York, 10 July 1776, declared all grants and charters made 
by Great Britain after 14 October 1775 null and void and later 
purchases of land from the Indians invalid unless authorized 
by the State Legislature. Loyalists' property was confiscated 
and sold in 100-acre lots. Quit-rents formerly due Great Brit- 
ain were appropriated. Unappropriated lands taken over from 
the Crown were offered in 1781 as bounties. Records of these 
are in the state archives. Primogeniture and entails were 
abolished 12 July 1782; this destroyed manorial rights. 29 
The Act of 1 April 1785 created in the office a Board of Com- 
missioners to buy land of Indians and sell to settlers. The 
Act of 15 May 1786 gave them the sale of unappropriated 
lands, power to direct the sale of any unpatented lands and to 
lay out bounty lands to be settled in seven years. The decision 
of the Hartford Convention on the Massachusetts claim re- 
sulted in the session by New York of 6,000,000 acres of land. 
(New York was able to retain jurisdiction over the land be- 
cause of a treaty of the Iroquois in 1701 with the New York 

27 Cited by A. R. Hasse. (See footnote 9.) 

28 "Fort Stanwix Treaty of 1768", by R. A. Billington, with map op. p. 
184, in Proceedings of New York State Historical Association, 1944, XLII, 

29 The American Revolution in New York:Its Political, Social and Eco- 
nomic Significance, prepared by the Division of Archives and History, 
Albany, 1926, "5" on pp. 12, 81, "7" on 230. 


Governor which placed their country for protection and de- 
fense under the English Crown.) 

The Land Office of the Secretary of State recorded all origi- 
nal grants and patents, large and small, including military 
land bounties and Indian purchases. 30 

The military tract chosen for bounty lands was in Mont- 
gomery Co., in the area set off as Herkimer Co. in 1791. The 
entire military tract was taken to form Onondaga Co. in 1794. 
It was found to overlap the Boston Ten Town tract. 31 This 
was adjusted by adding two townships to the military tract, 
making 28. Lots drawn in each of the 28 townships, by 
whom, and to whom delivered, are given in The Balloting 
Book. 32 

The State Library has some military land records from the 
Adjutant General's office. The Attorney General's office has 
land suits in which the State is a party. Other courts also 
have land suits. The Comptroller's office kept records of land 
subject to quit-rents and their later disposition. In the case of 
estates, this included names of persons to whom subgrants 

30 "A, Catalogue of iRecords in Secretary of State office on 1 Jan. 1820", 
New York Sen. Doc. 2, 1820, also Sen. Journ. 1820, 13-51, cited in Third 
Report of the Historical Manuscripts Commission in American Historical 
Association Annual Report for 1898, 577-581. F. G. Jewett compiled a 
later one, Albany, 1898. 

31 The bibliography in a M. A. thesis at Syracuse University, May, 1935, 
on "The Military Tract of Central N. Y.," by Robert S. Rose, lists manu- 
scripts in the Land Office of the Secretary of State and in the State Li- 
brary Manuscripts Division at its date. Gazetteer of the State of New 
York, ed. by J. H. French (1860), p. 180, states Boston Ten Towns were 
sold to 60 persons and that their names are found in Act of 3 March 1789 
(Laws of New York Folio edition 12th sess. p. 76). The land was in 
Broome, Tioga and Cortland Counties. 

32 The 28 townships listed in The Balloting Book and other documents re- 
lating to military bounty lands in the State of New York, Albany, 1825, 
in Onondaga Co., in 1794 are now nos. 1, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 14 and 15 in 
Onondaga; nos. 3, 4, 8, 12, 13, 18, 28 and part of 17 in Cayuga; nos. 19, 
20, 24 and 25 in Cortland; no. 2 in Oswego; no. 21 in Schuyler; nos. 11, 
16, 26 in Seneca; nos. 22, 23 and part of 17 in Tompkins; no. 27 in Wayne. 
Names of some have been changed, but their areas are as given. 


were issued. These were probably obtained from patents and 
deeds in the Secretary of State's office. 33 

Gazetteer of the State of New York, ed. by J. H. French, 
1860, and by F. B. Hough, 1872, 12 contains tables of the princi- 
pal patents in colony and state with name, date, chief paten- 
tees, size, and location in the state patents, including county. 
These are Massachusetts' 6,000,000 acres with subdivisions; 
Macomb's Great Purchase in Franklin, St. Lawrence, Jeffer- 
son, Lewis, Oswego and Herkimer Counties; Chenango, 
Twenty townships; principal tracts granted in small parcels 
by the State. The introductions, texts and footnotes contain 
much locality land information. Both editions give first sett- 
lers and those who followed shortly in the upstate localities. 
L. D. Scisco made a typed name index to French's edition, and 
gave one to the Syracuse Public Library and the other to New 
York Genealogical and Biographical Society. 

Conquering the Wilderness, vol. V of History of the State of 
New York, ed. by A. C. Flick," 4 is chiefly on Upper New York. 
Chapter 4, 'The Valleys of the Susquehanna and the Dela- 
ware", and Chapter 5, 'The Frontier pushed Westward", give 
the principal land tracts of the Six Nations area. Chapter 6, 
'The Settlement of the North Country", the bibliography to 
each chapter, and the end-cover map of the state with 226 
numbered tracts and key, should be familiar to researchers. 
"Map of the State of New York showing the location of the 
original Land Grants, Patents and Purchases", which is map 
3 of J. R. Bien's Atlas of the State of New York (1895), gives 
the 226 tracts with key and greater detail. This atlas has also 
county and city land maps. Inventory of Maps (partial), is- 
sued by the Historical Records Survey (1942) lists maps in 
various state, county, municipal and other public offices. 
Catalogue of Maps and Surveys in the Offices of Secretary of 
State, State Engineer and Surveyors, the Comptroller and the 

33 Comptroller's land records from Osgood's survey 1900, 116-120 (see foot- 
note 22). The State Library has land grants to soldiers 1817-18 from 
Office of Adjutant General. 

34 See footnote 1. 


New York State Library, by D. E. Mix (Albany, 1859) is also 

The county clerk's office files for its county all real estate 
transactions, but grantee and grantor indexes do not con- 
tain all early deeds. Some were recorded long after purchase 
when property was sold outside the family. The indexes give 
date of filing, not date of instrument, except in Erie Co., which 
gives both. The Act of 3 December 1798 required Ontario Co. 
to record all deeds. It became a general law by Ch. 175 in 
1810. Some missing deeds are found in state archives, land 
company records, among family papers and local history col- 
lections. Some ownerships are indicated by deeds of adjoin- 
ing property. 

L. C. Cooley published in 1946 name indexes to 0. Turner's 
Pioneer History of Holland Purchase of Western New York, 
1850, and his History of the Pioneer Settlement of the Phelps 
and Gorham Purchase, 1851. The latter has a Supplement 
(493-624) on the part of the Purchase in Monroe Co. and the 
northern part of the Morris Reserve. The Supplement (493- 
588) in the Rochester 1852 edition, covers the Purchase in On- 
tario, Wayne, Livingston, Yates and Alleghany counties and 
the southern part of the Morris Reserve. It is not in the 
Cooley Index. The tract known as the Phelps and Gorham 
Purchase is the part of their purchase lying between the Gene- 
see River and Seneca Lake, which they divided into townships 
and lots and sold as parcels. The State Library has some of 
their papers, 1788-1895. East of Seneca Lake was the mili- 
tary tract, and west of the Genesee was the Holland Purchase 
(Massachusetts land). It included all except a strip of New 
York land a mile wide along the Niagara River and the Indian 
Reservations. The Buffalo Historical Society has a very large 
collection of Holland Land Co. papers, 1792-1850. Their Pub- 
lications for 1910, 1924, 1937 and 1941 are on the Purchase. 
All of the state west of the Genesee was the town of North- 
ampton, Ontario Co., between 1797 and 1802, when it was 
divided. Prof A. H. Wright's Old Northampton of Western 


New York u gives its legislative history. It contains the first 
tax list, the Town Records, 1797-1825, the earmarks of its 
parent, the District of Genesee, and a name index. "Ab- 
stract on land and dwellings owned on 1 April 1815 in counties 
of Niagara and Erie in the State of New York" is found in 
U. S. Executive Documents. 36 Paul D. Evans wrote of a large 
tract purchased by three English gentlemen, "The Pulteney 
Purchase". 37 The original documents of the Calendar of New 
York Colonial Manuscript Indorsed Land Papers in the Office 
of the Secretary of State of New York, 1643-1803 (3 vols. 
Albany, 1864), including later ones to 1892, are in the New 
York State Library. 38 

Tax Records 

Direct property tax, real and personal, was primarily a local 
tax. When New York received insufficient funds from duties, 
excises, licenses, etc., and the counties from fees for recording 
and consultation of documents, etc., the Board of Supervisors 
apportioned the amount of the state and county levies to each 
of the self-governing units within the county to be added to its 
local tax. A poll tax of the tenant class was the origin of the 
personal tax. It became permanent by the establishment of 
the income tax after 1913. State and county levies on real 
property continued to be collected with local taxes. Assessors 
annually revise their taxpayers lists and assign to each the 
amount of the three levies each must pay within a specified 
time. In counties where the inhabited area was small the lists 
might be found among the Board of Supervisors records, but it 
is doubtful if any in Upper New York are found in their of- 
fices. The Board usually publishes the journal of its proceed- 
ings, but some do not have their earliest ones. The journals 
contain much about taxes and mention many contemporary in- 

36 Rochester Historical Society; Publication Fund Series, VII, 235-424. The 

binder's title of the author's edition is Old Northampton and Northampton 


86 U. S. Executive Documents, no. 38, 18th Cong. 2d. Sess. 11,4. 

^Proceedings of the New York State Historical Association, XX, 1922, 


88 Mentioned in the bibliography of R. S. Rose's thesis (see footnote 31). 


habitants with residences. During early statehood period tax 
lists were filed with local clerks and the county treasurers 
received with the funds raised by the state and county levies 
a delinquent tax list of parcels and owners. Beginning be- 
tween 1850 and 1870, varying in counties, tax lists have been 
filed both in local clerks' and county treasurers' offices which 
are usually at the county seat, but in Washington County 
at a former seat, Argyle. Prior to the Sheriff sale for taxes 
a list of parcels with names of owners is published in a 
local newspaper or posted in a public place. Sheriff deeds and 
certificates, redemption records, and an index of unpaid taxes 
are usually in the county clerk's office. They also may have 
excise papers on file. Surrogates' offices usually have some 
inheritance tax data of estates. 

Researchers failing to find the person of their search in a 
town tax list should examine the lists of parent town and ad- 
joining towns, villages, cities and county. Whole towns and 
parts of towns have been taken to form new counties and have 
been added to cities. Boundary lines have been changed when 
official surveys have been made and after a state census to 
equalize assembly districts. 

Tax lists in small towns and villages can be seen only by ap- 
pointment. The local clerk or historian might examine the 
records for a fee. The Act of 11 April 1919 requires a local 
historian to be appointed in each local unit. It did not in- 
clude county historians and yet, by 1926, nine counties had 
them. The office was created by Article 46, Section 1198, of 
the Educational law effective 8 April 1939. Comparatively 
few of the thousand or more towns, villages and cities of Up- 
per New York 39 have published histories. Only part of these 
contain any tax lists. Some local units have complete or 
nearly complete tax lists and others did not value the early 
ones sufficiently to give them storage space. The Historical 
Records Survey's Guide to Depositories of Manuscripts Col- 
lections locates some that have drifted into historical and other 

39 Flick's History of the State of New York, VII, 288, gives for the 62 
counties (of which 5 are in New York City) for 1934 "60 cities, 932 towns 
and 555 villages" a total of 1647. 


libraries. Chief place listed is in the large collector! of original 
public records now in the State Library at Albany, which also 
has transcriptions by the New York D. A. R. and others. In 
the material left in the Library by the Historical Records Sur- 
vey are some completed but unpublished town surveys. These 
include tax lists now in town-record files. 

In 1900, the State Comptroller's office had assessment rolls, 
tax books and strictly chronological tax diaries in large num- 
bers and records of county treasurers tax sales bid in for the 
State in 1811 and every five years thereafter (evidently de- 
faulted patents and land grants in their counties), comptrol- 
ler's sales books since 1853 and records of the inheritance tax 
bureau.' For a long period the Comptroller's office assessed 
and collected all special taxes. In 1915, the New York State 
Tax Department was created. It took over from the Comp- 
troller his function of direct state tax, the duties of his Land 
Tax Bureau, the State Board of Equalization established in 
1859, and the State Board of Tax Commissioners established 
in 1896. The Tax Department was enlarged in 1927. Its 
Division of Finance took over the duties of State Treasurer. 
The succeeding offices or the State Library would have the rec- 
ords of the extinct offices. 

Vital Records 

Between 1778, when New York began to function as a state, 
and its first Registry Act of 1846 requiring the keeping of 
public vital records, the larger part of Upper New York was 
settled, organized into counties and towns and gradually into 
towns, incorporated villages, cities and various kinds of dis- 
tricts. The Registry Act provided no remuneration and no 
penalty. The clerk of each school district was to consult the 
records of physicians and others and report all the births, 
marriages and deaths of his district to the town clerk, who 
was to file annually with the county clerk. 

The Historical Records Survey's Guide to Public Vital 
Statistics Records in New York State, including New York 
City (3 vols., 1942) contains a survey of village, town, city 

40 Osgood's Inventory of State Archives, 116-120. See footnote 22. 


and county offices. It shows that most towns compiled rec- 
ords for a year or more, 1847-1849, and a few for 1850 and 
1851, but many of the returns were found in local and not in 
county clerks' offices. It gives an account of those in Onon- 
daga Co., 1847-1868. They include returns from some of the 
towns for 1847 to 1850, some odd marriage certificates and a 
list of marriages by one clergyman during 1867 and 1868. 41 
The introduction to the Guide lists 42 of the 62 counties with 
no birth records. The text shows only two of the 42 have any 
death records. From 1908 to 1 April, 1915, original mar- 
riage licenses and records were filed in the county clerks' of- 
fices and copies sent to the State Bureau, but thereafter the 
State filed the originals and copies were kept by the county 
clerk till 1935, when his duty was transferred to the town and 
municipal offices. The Guide shows no result from the Reg- 
istry Act of 1864, repealed in 1865. The state censuses for 
1865 and for 1875 give for each enumeration district the mar- 
riages and deaths for the preceding year ending June 1, 1865 
and 1 June, 1875. 

In 1936, from correspondence with departments, H. C. Dur- 
rell compiled "Centralization of Vital Records in the States". 
He indicates the New York State Department of Health, Al- 
bany, has births, marriages and deaths "on file from 1895" 
with exceptions in the New York City area, Yonkers, Buffalo 
and Albany. These were filed only in the city registrars' of- 
fices till later specified dates. 42 The Department of Health was 

41 The Survey shows that a few localities antedate legislative action of 
1846. In Chautauqua Co.: City of Jamestown b, 1822 — Town of El- 
lery b. 7 d. 1843-44, Carroll b. 1825. In Erie Co.: Buffalo m. 1811-1897, 
early years not complete. In Niagara Co.: City of Niagara Falls 
licenses 1837-1877, Town of Royalton b. m. d. 1818 — . In Ontario Co.: 
Canandaigua b. m. & d. 1821-62, Victor b. 1821. In Oswego Co.: West- 
ford b. m. & d. 1835-1852. These are in local offices and not in County 
Clerks' offices. The Buffalo Historical Society Publications, vol. XIV, 
1910, App. B, article "Rough list of MSS." in its library on p. 453 lists 
"Buffalo Obituary Records" with dates of death, etc., of adults, inch 
vicinity, 1812-1895, when City Bureau was established. It lists "Old 
Settlers, residents prior to 1830". (Compiled by C. K. Remington; this 
gives hundreds of names arranged by years of arrival 1789-1829, etc.) 

42 The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Jan. 1936, XC, 
9-31 (New York, on 21-23). 


organized in 1880 and then began to receive some returns. 
Some city bureaus antedate by a few years the State Bureau.* 8 
It took several years to organize the offices in the numerous 
towns and municipalities, although in the smaller ones the 
clerk serves as custodian. The date when all existing towns 
and municipalities, with the few exceptions noted above, were 
organized and sending returns to the State office is evidently 
1895. It became compulsory to file records in 1914. In the 
75 unbound volumes of Certificates of Births (Delayed) "are 
920 certificates scattered through the years 1834-1879", and 
under marriages, "A small number of records was filed pre- 
vious to the organization of the Department of Health in 1880, 
the earliest 1861". 

Church, cemetery and census records given below, together 
with newspapers, Bibles, family data and genealogies are the 
chief sources for supplying missing vital records. The largest 
collection of Bible transcriptions in the State is in the New 
York State Library at Albany. It has fifty-five or more manu- 
script volumes of Bible Records with some family data tran- 
scribed by Daughters of the American Revolution of New 
York State." The Colonial Dames of the State of New York 
published Genealogical Records, edited by J. F. J. Robinson 
and H. C. Bartlett (1917). It contains vital records taken 
from family Bibles, 1581-1917. 

In Upper New York, far from colonial settlements and sup- 
plies, there were no newspapers in early pioneering days. 
French's Gazetteer" gives for various localities dates and 
names of first newspapers with their publishers. Hough's 
Gazetteer gives those of 1872. C. S. Brigham's Union List 
with continuation by W. Gregory and the annotated catalogue 
of newspapers filed in the Wisconsin State Historical Society 
Library probably locate most of the early ones that now exist, 
except some in historical societies, small libraries not inven- 

48 Among them are: Amsterdam 1877, Buffalo, b. in 1878, Elmira, b. 1876, 
Rochester 1876, Syracuse b. and d. 1873, and 1874, Utica, b. 1873. Often 
a local bureau publishes in a local newspaper all births. 


toried and files in offices of newspapers with which an early 
paper merged. 

Writings on American History,'' 5 listing publications appear- 
ing each year, prior to 1940 had divisions "Regional Genealogy 
— Vital Records", "Regional Local-History — New York", 
"Genealogy-Collected" and "Genealogy-Individual Families". 
Most of the books and many of the articles published during 
the period on Upper New York are listed. In volumes since 
1940, the only genealogies listed under that heading are those 
containing documents or biographical sketches, but other gene- 
alogies and vital records are included under "Local History". 
Many records of the region giving vital records are tran- 
scribed in Early Settlers of New York State, edited by Mrs. 
Janet (Wethey) Foley (it has a general name index), and in 
the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Many 
are located by both name and place divisions in Index to Gene- 
alogical Periodicals, by D. L. Jacobus, and its supplements. 

Church Records 

The Constitution of 1777 separated church and state, and 
the Act of 6 April 1784 gave all religious societies the right to 
organize and manage their temporal affairs. This placed 
the decision requiring the keeping of records with their church 
authority. Prior to such action by it, the clergy considered 
the records as private and took them when they left. The 
Historical Records Survey's Guide to the Vital Statistics of 
Churches in New York State (exclusive of New York City) 2 
vols. (1942), includes 93 denominations; those required to 
keep records are the Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, Prot- 
estant Episcopal, Reformed Church in America and Roman 
Catholic. It does not give the dates when each were first re- 
quired to keep them. The inventory covers only those rec- 
ords in the possession of the church. It gives location, date 

44 See D. A. R. under "Cemetery Records and Inscriptions". 

45 The years 1906, 1907 and 1908 were published by McMillan Co., 1912 
to 1917 by Yale Press (New Haven); 1918 to 1940, and 1948— were 
published in the Annual Report of the American Historical Association 
or as a Supplement to it. 


of organization, sometimes changed name or parent church, 
kinds of records with inclusive dates, and indicates D. A. R. 
and New York Genealogical and Biographical Society tran- 
scriptions found in the State Library. 49 The New York State 
Library One Hundreth Annual Report, 1917 (Albany, 1918, 
pp. 31-35) gives a complete list of church records received to 
June 1917 with statement of contents and dates. Subsequent 
reports list those received since that time. 

Pre-organization meeting and incorporation of church 
papers found in the county clerks' offices name the first mem- 
bers. The earliest churches are often in the parent county. 

Some upstate denominational collections are: Baptist in 
Rochester at the Colgate Divinity School, and in Hamilton at 
Colgate University and at Samuel Colgate Baptist Historical 
Collection ; Methodist Episcopal at Syracuse University and at 
Troy Conference Historical Society; Seventh Day Baptists in 
Alfred Center at Alfred University ; Universalists in Canton at 
St. Lawrence University ; Shakers in the State Library and in 
Buffalo at Grosvenor Library. Mrs. J. C. Frost's transcrip- 
tions of New York Quaker meeting records are found in many 
libraries. Her title of "Quaker Records from Duanesburg 
later called Butternuts, Otsego County" is misleading. But- 
ternuts M. M. was set off from Duanesburg, Schenectady Co., 
in 1810. 47 

48 The D. A. R. transcriptions are in their series of "Cemetery, Church 
and Town Records". The New York Genealogical and Biographical 
Society transcriptions were a large collection transcribed 1913 to 1917 of 
early New York church records edited by R. W. Vosburgh. The Society, 
the Library of Congress and the New York State Library each have a 
set ; other libraries have microfilm copies. The Montgomery Co. Depart- 
ment of History and Archives has many. 

47 "Quaker Records in New York", by John Cox, Jr., in New York Gene- 
alogical and Biographical Record, 1914, XLV, 263-269, 366-373. On p. 
370, "Butternuts was set off 1810 from Duanesburgh, M. M.". Evi- 
dently, the Butternut Quakers carried off the Record Book of Duanesburg 
and copied Butternut records in it since it gives b. 1778-1861 and d. 
1809-1869. The Duanesburg records prior to 1810 are missing. The 
Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, April and July 1913, IV, 
64-74, 119-125, gives "The Duanesburg Friends Meeting", births, 1810- 
1904 and deaths 1811-1907. "The Scipio Monthly Meeting of Friends", 
1808 to 1821, inch, in Collections of Cayuga County Historical Society. 
Auburn, 1882, 87-90, gives by years arrivals, and from where. 


Cemetery Records and Inscriptions 

The largest collection of grave inscriptions in New York 
State is the transcriptions by the New York state chapters 
of the Daughters of the American Revolution. These are 
copied from old graves on farms, in churches and church- 
yards, in abandoned cemeteries and in the older sections of 
existing ones. Several copies are made. One is always sent 
to the D. A. R. Library, in Washington, D. C, and another to 
the New York State Library at Albany. The State Library 
has many volumes of Cemetery, Church and Town Records, 
and Graves of Revolutionary Soldiers with family data. Some 
chapters kept copies of their contributions and deposited them 
in a local library or historical society collection. The State 
Library and other libraries also have cemetery inscriptions 
and records by other transcribers. 

If any tombstones exist in Central and Western New York 
at graves of their early dead, it is rather conclusive that they 
were placed there a number of years later and the inscriptions 
were from memory or family data. Transportation difficul- 
ties combined with remoteness from previously settled com- 
munities and from quarries and carvers of stone were chief 
factors. If an itinerant preacher officiated, he may have re- 
corded the burial in his private records. If the deceased was 
a town officer, the minutes of the town meeting might mention 
his death. Even if the town clerk had attempted to record all 
deaths, the town was too vast, in this period, for him to hear 
of all deaths in his town. Owing largely to scarcity of paper 
until many years later when paper mills were built or supplies 
from outside became more frequent, few, if any, diaries were 
kept. When churches were built and church and churchyard 
received interments each church kept burial records with lo- 
cation of its graves. When cemetery associations were 
formed, its office in cemetery or elsewhere kept charts of 
sections with owners' names entered on lots sold and burial 
records with name, date, lot and location of grave of each 
interment. If an association was dissolved, the local govern- 
ment became custodian of the cemetery and its records (which 


it filed in its clerk's office) unless there was a park division, 
then it would have, if the lot owners had paid for perpetual 
care or the neighborhood demanded it, records of burials and 
location of graves. Sometimes families have re-interred kin 
on their lots in churchyards and cemeteries. Sometimes all 
graves of an abandoned cemetery have been transferred to a 
section of a newer cemetery. 

The Montgomery County Department of History and Ar- 
chives has the Federal Writers Project manuscripts of Sweet- 
man and West Charlton (Saratoga Co.) cemeteries (1 vol.), 
and Private Burial Grounds of Schenectady County. It has 
also cemetery records of its ten towns and some of those of 
Albany, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Rensselaer, Saratoga, 
Schenectady and Washington Counties. 

The H. R. S. Guide to Depositories of Manuscript Collections 
has 43 references to cemetery records. The Grosvenor Li- 
brary in Buffalo has inscriptions from Chemung, Erie, Monroe, 
Niagara, Orleans, Wyoming and Yates counties. The Guide 
did not include the cemetery records in the Syracuse Public 
Library. That library has many transcriptions of individual 
cemeteries in Onondaga Co., a collection from nine towns by 
Edith Hall, old cemetery records throughout the county tran- 
scribed many years ago by W. M. Beauchamp and a D. A. R. 
deposit of some records of Onondaga, Oswego and Wayne 
Counties. Records of an abandoned cemetery in Syracuse are 
partly in the city clerk's office and partly in the park division 

A few of the published books are Inscriptions and Graves in 
the Niagara Peninsula, by the Niagara Historical Society 
(1903) ; Cemetery Inscriptions, Town of Spencer, N. Y. 
(Tioga Co.), 1795-1906, by Mary F. Hall, comp. (1906) ; Feni- 
more Cooper's Grave and Christ Churchyard (Cooperstown, 
Otsego Co.), comp. by Ralph Birdsall (1911). 

Census Records 

Federal and state censuses taken in New York colony and 
state are listed by F. B. Hough in his "Introduction" to the 
summary of the 1855 state census. The State took a census 


in 1776, 1782, 1786, 1795, 1801, 1807, 1814, 1821, 1825, 1835, 
1845, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1880, 1892, 1905, 1915, and 1925, after 
which date the state census was abolished. The 1880 state 
census was not a copy of the Federal Census for 1880, but a 
mere enumeration of persons and ages arranged in each dis- 
trict by initial of surname. The summaries of the state cen- 
suses of 1825, 1835 and 1845 were prepared by the county 
clerks ; they kept the original returns. Some Boards of Super- 
visors voted to distribute them and the Federal censuses enu- 
meration of the county to their towns. Most of these, for lack 
of storage space, were not permanently kept. Of the then 56 
New York counties, the Census of 1825 of only Broome, Herki- 
mer, Lewis, Orange, Schoharie, Tompkins, Washington and 
Yates Counties were in their county clerks' offices in 1946. A 
copy of the 1825 census for the Town of Otsego, Otsego Co., 
which then included Cooperstown, is in the Syracuse Public 
Library, and that of the Town of Mina, Chautauqua Co., is in 
Minerva Free Library at Sherman. Beginning with the state 
census of 1855, the original returns were sent to the Secre- 
tary of State's office where the summaries were prepared and 
the county clerks had copies to file. Prior to the State Library 
fire of March 1911 the returns from the Secretary of State's 
office were transferred to the Library. A report on losses 
lists all the original returns of New York state censuses for 
the years 1795, 1801, 1807, 1814, 1821 and all the figures after 

The New York State Library published in 1937 An Inven- 
tory of New York State and Federal Census Records, compiled 
by Edna L. Jacobsen, based on reports from county clerks' 
offices. The fourth revised issue in 1942 includes Essex Co. 
1915 and 1925. In 1945, the Library had enumerations for 
1850, 1860, 1870, 1875, part of 1880, 1892, 1905 and 1925. The 
State Library now has by transfer all the earlier Albany 
County censuses. 

The State census of 1855 introduced some new features: 
"Relation to Head", Born in County of N. Y., state or coun- 
try", "Married or widowed", "No. yrs. res. in town or city", 


"native, naturalized, alien". The 1865 gives "parent of how 
many children" and "No. X married". It omits "length of 
res." The Works Progress Administration indexed for Onon- 
daga Co. clerk's office its 1915 and 1925 census records, but 
there are some name omissions. The Syracuse Public Library 
supplements their file by copies of the Federal censuses for 
Onondaga Co. 1810 to 1840 with name indexes of each; 1790 
and 1800 have been published. 

The Grosvenor Library at Buffalo has an index to Census of 
1850 of Buffalo and also of the 1855 census of Niagara Co. 
The D. A. R. Irondequoit Chapter of Rochester has census 
records of Monroe Co. arranged alphabetically under towns 
and wards. The Rochester Public Library has some micro- 
films of censuses. 

Beginning with the Federal census of 1850 and the state 
census of 1855, each inhabitant is named in the enumeration 
instead of only the head of families as hitherto. 

The published U. S. Census for 1790 for New York State 
claims "A complete list of the heads of families". A careful 
comparison of index and text of place with some known in- 
habitants of same places reveal omissions not owing to mis- 
reading of manuscript. In 1790 with the exception of a sec- 
tion of Ulster Co. taken to form a part of Delaware Co. in 
1797 all of the settlements of Upper New York were then in 
Albany, Clinton, Montgomery, Ontario and Washington coun- 
ties. In 1800, there were 30 counties in New York. The 
New York Genealogical and Biographical Record has pub- 
lished the 1800 census of twelve. The National Archives has 
a complete set of the 1810 census for New York except Cort- 
land Co., which was set off from Onondaga Co. in 1808 and 
may have been given with Onondaga, or lost. 

Military and Naval Records 

During the colonial wars the Mohawk Valley was the only 
settled part of Upper New York outside the Hudson Valley. 
Its soldiers were in the Albany Co. regiments and records. 
Following the wars, New York issued patents to the north and 
east of the Hudson Valley. Patents to colonial soldiers gave 


the regiment of each. These were recorded in a separate file 
in the Secretary of State's office to which were added the mili- 
tary patents of the Revolution. A list of patents was pub- 
lished in 1793 48 . A map, 1775-1783, showing the boundary 
lines of the "Six Nations", the ten original counties of the New 
York colony and the four taken from Albany Co., is the fron- 
tispiece of New York in the Revolution as Colony and State, 
vol. 1 (Office of State Comptroller, 1904). 

During the Revolution there were two militia brigades in 
Upper New York, (1) Albany and Try on or the Mohawk Val- 
ley militia and the other (2) Charlotte, Cumberland and Glou- 
cester. The area of the latter brigade, except Charlotte Co. 
west of Lake Champlain and in the Lake George region, be- 
came the State of Vermont in 1791. (Vermont soldiers are 
found in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire records.) 

The office of State Historian was created in 1895 for the 
compilation and publication of official documents, memoranda 
and data, military and naval of the various wars. In 1915, 
the Division of History with the State Historian as chief, was 
combined with the Division of Archives. The Division pre- 
pared an excellent handbook The American Revolution in New 
York 49 giving organization of militia, minutemen, levies, line 
and navy, short history of the five regiments from New York 
(Sept. 1776) in the Continental Line, names of ten additional 
regiments with commanders largely recruited in New York 
Dec. 1776, exemptions except in invasion, difference between 
land bounties given for service in line and levies, and "land 
bounty rights" given in the latter part of the war, which are 
lists of men in militia classes who furnished one fully equipped 
soldier in each class to serve and the class received a trans- 
ferable right M , campaigns, invasions, raids and massacres by 

4H New York State, Secretary of State; List of Names of Perso?is to whom 
Military Patents have been issued out of the Sec'ys office and to whorn 
delivered. Printed by Francis Child & John Swaine, Printers to the 
state in 1793. One of 300 copies is in the Library of Congress. It has 
pp. 9-10 duplicated and pp. 8-9 missing. This book is now very rare. 

49 "VII. New York on the Battlefield", pp. 129-177. See footnote 29. 

50 Sometimes they were assigned to the one who served. Land speculators 
purchased many. The State Library has some charred assignments and 
pay-rolls salvaged from the fire. 


bands of Loyalists and Indians on the frontiers. It states that 
militia records prior to 1778 are very incomplete (this includes 
1777 when in the Battle of Saratoga a maximum number 
served), that the "State Archives" 61 compiled by B. Fernow 
list about 40,000 soldiers, that the second edition of New York 
in the Revolution as Colony and State lists 43,645, and that 
many names of officers and enlisted men of the Navy have been 
preserved. (In Upper New York, the Navy operated on Lake 
Champlain in May 1775 and in 1776.) It includes " Works re- 
lating to the American Revolution in the State of New York" 
(287-304) compiled by Peter Nelson, which lists bibliograph- 
ies, sources, rosters, etc. Among listed works, with genealog- 
ical value are : Rosters of Oriskany and the Mohawk Valley 
Militia in N. Greene's History of the Mohawk Valley, 161 U- 
1925. 4 vols. Chicago 1925 (303) ; "List of New York Loyal- 
ists", compiled by Wm. Kelby, in New York Historical Society 
Collections, Jones Fund series, N. Y. 1917 (298) ; the various 
series of the Collections published by that Society with a list 
of volumes on the Revolution (297) ; "The Minutes of the 
Council of Appointment of the State of New York April 2, 
1778 — May 3, 1779", in the Collections, Publication Fund ser- 
ies, vol. LVIII, N. Y. 1925 (296) ; The New York State Histori- 
cal Association Proceedings and the volume numbers of the re- 
gions featured (298), etc. (The Proceedings have general in- 
dexes that cover Vols. I — XXXIII. A few of the military 
papers are: "List of New York Patriots at Walloomsac Au- 
gust 16, 1777", vol. V, p. 103; "The Black Watch at Ticonder- 
oga", with military rolls, Proceedings, vol. X, pp. 367-464. 
"Soldiers of the Champlain Valley" from a card catalog by S. 
H. Paine (The Revolution and the War of 1812) Proceedings, 
vol. XVII, 1919, pp. 300,428). 

Calendar of Historical Manuscripts Relating to the War of 
the Revolution in office of Secretary of State (2 vols., Albany, 
1868) contains rolls of regiment and data of individual sol- 
diers. Calendar of New York Colonial Manuscript Indorsed 

n "State Archives" is Vol. XV of Documents Relating to the Colonial 
History of the State of New York. This is sometimes referred to as 
"Colonial Documents". 


Land Papers 5 * contains claims, assignments and affidavits con- 
cerning revolutionary service of individual soldiers. Some 
omissions from rosters can be found by intensive search in 
contemporary and local sources, and publications and manu- 
scripts of patriotic societies, pension records, etc. "Some 
New York Veterans in the American Revolution", prepared 
for the Syracuse Public Library by J. E. Bowman in 1926 con- 
tains over 200 items from various newspapers. Onondaga 
County Clerk's office has "Pension Papers and Physician Di- 
plomas, 1799-1845", and also the military tract, "Awards of 
Onondaga Commissioners", vol. 1, 1798-1802. 53 

During the War of 1812, Upper New York consisted of 29 
counties. In its area the conflict within New York raged and 
on its borders the two decisive naval battles of Lake Erie and 
Lake Champlain were fought. Governor Daniel D. Tompkins 
was the U. S. Major General in charge of military movements 
and in regulations of the commissary and pay departments. 
The accounts of the United States and New York became en- 
tangled. In 1818, Jabez Hammond was appointed agent to 
settle the claim of New York against the United States. In 
1826, he reported to the Legislature that he had presented to 
the Third Auditor of the U. S. Treasury, without making cop- 
ies, all the documents in his possession together with the re- 
turns of the arsenal-keepers in New York State during the late 
war. The National Government in 1892 transferred them to 
the Record and Pension Bureau, Washington, D. C. They in- 
cluded all the muster-in and muster-out rolls of the State. In 
1900, the New York Adjutant General's Office had orders from 
1801 to date and some incomplete pay rolls of the War of 1812 
copied from records in Washington, D. C. The Historical Rec- 
ords Survey's Guide to Depositories locates several muster- 

52 See footnote 38 and text. 

63 R. S. Rose's thesis (see footnote 31) lists a Book of Awards of Cayuga 
County in Cayuga County Clerk's Office. Cuyuga was taken from Onon- 
daga in 1799. He states that the Minutes of the Onondaga Commis- 
sioners were almost totally destroyed in the fire of 1911. The New York 
Historical Society library has "Report from the Commissioners for 
Settling Titles to Land in the County of Onondaga, N. Y." Albany, 
Feb. 1800. See also Land Records herein for military tracts. 


rolls, and states that 25 volumes of War of 1812 records were 
transferred from the Comptroller's Office to the State Library 
in 1910, that among those salvaged from the fire are some 
payments to American prisoners of war, Niagara sufferers 
and a number of enlistment papers in the sea fencibles. 

Among works published are: "Garrison Orders and Pro- 
ceedings of Ft. Niagara" in New York State Historical As- 
sociation Proceedings, 1926, 62-80, 152-178 ; Documentary His- 
tory of the Campaign on the Niagara Frontier in the years 
1812, 1813, 1814, edited by E. Cruikshank, 8 pts. in 7 volumes 
(1899-1905) ; The Military Minutes of the Council of Appoint- 
ment, 1783-1821, compiled by H. Hastings, 3 vols. & Index 
(1901-1902). (It covers War of 1812 and gives changes of 
residences of some militia officers.) 

No extant records of appointments exist for 1822-1830, but 
those for 1831 to 1846 are in the Adjutant General's office. 
That office has many records of the Civil and later wars. Its 
Annual Reports are published. County and other local histo- 
ries usually give for their locality rosters of regiments and 
companies of the Civil War. Numerous histories of individual 
regiments have been published. Onondaga County Clerk's 
office has "Enrollment of Persons Liable to Military Duty, 
1862-1866"; 66 volumes. Town of Manlius has records of 
service of officers, soldiers and seamen April 1861-1865. Other 
County Clerk's and Town offices should have such records for 
their localities. The State Census for 1865 gives for each 
enumeration district as of June 1, 1865, all men in army and 
navy, data of services, rank, promotions, regiment and ref- 
erence to page and line in family enumeration, also deaths of 
officers with rank. The Adjutant General's office has a com- 
plete file of muster-in and muster-out rolls of the Spanish 
American War and should have the same for World Wars I 
and II. 



General Bibliography 

Two pertinent bibliographies have been published for Long 
Island history and genealogy: Bibliography of Long Island, 
by Henry Onderdonk, which is an appendix to the Antiquities 
of Long Island by Gabriel Furman (edited by Frank Moore, 
New York, Bouton, 1875) ; and the comprehensive Long Island 
Bibliography, by Richard B. Sealock and Pauline A. Seely, 
published in 1940 (Edwards Bros., Ann Arbor, Mich.). In 
the former written at a time when historical and genealogical 
publications on Long Island were scant, the scope and empha- 
sis were largely literary. However, Mr. Sealock and Miss 
Seely have compiled a work indispensable to the Long Island 
genealogist, and the competent researcher must be familiar 
with it, particularly with the sections on biography, directo- 
ries, documents, and history and description. 

Supplementing the foregoing are American and English 
Genealogies in the Library of Congress, Second Edition 
(1919) ; Catalogue of American Genealogies in the Library of 
the Long Island Historical Society, prepared under the direc- 
tion of the then librarian, Emma Toedteberg (1935) ; and 
Long Island Genealogical Source Material, by this writer and 
published as Genealogical Publication No. 9 of the National 
Genealogical Society in 1948. Indexes to genealogical periodi- 
cals, notably those initiated by Daniel S. Durrie and continued 
to a fifth edition in 1900 by Joel Munsell's Sons (Index to 
American Genealogies), and those published by Donald L. Ja- 

Libraries with whose source material the investigator 
should be familiar include : 

The East Hampton, New York, Free Library. 

The Huntington, New York, Historical Society, at Hunt- 
ington, New York. 

The Long Island Historical Society, Pierrepont and Clinton 
Streets, Brooklyn, New York. 


The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 122 
East 58th Street, New York, N. Y. 

The New York Historical Society, 77th Street and Central 
Park West, New York, N. Y. 

The New York Public Library, 42nd Street and Fifth 
Avenue, New York, N. Y. 

The New York State Library (Manuscripts and History 
Section), Albany, New York. 

Queensborough Public Library, Long Island Collection, 89- 
14 Parsons Blvd., Jamaica, New York. 

For the researcher who wishes to extend his field, collections 
in the major libraries in Boston, Washington (D. C), Chicago, 
Salt Lake City and Los Angeles should be examined also. 

General Historical Works: The Background 

Silas Wood of Huntington, Long Island wrote A Sketch of 
the First Settlement of the Several Towns on Long Island, 
which was published by Spooner in Brooklyn in 1824. This 
66-page work was followed by a more complete account by 
Benjamin Franklin Thompson, whose first edition of his His- 
tory of Long Island was issued in 1839. It is Mr. Thompson's 
second edition, published by Gould in New York in 1843, which 
contained as he says, "notices of numerous individuals and 
families." While this pioneer work is of great value, Thomp- 
son's accounts of, for example, the Brewster and Thompson 
families are in error; and the listing of the earliest settlers 
of Islip include people who came much later. Mr. Thompson's 
History was expanded in an edition published in 1918 and 
edited by Charles J. Werner ; it suffers from an uncritical ap- 

In 1845, Nathaniel Scudder Prime got out his A History of 
Long Island . . . with special reference to its ecclesiastical con- 
cerns. Descendants of Long Island ministers will find it of 
use ; however, the book was merely a follow-up on Thompson's 

Later works take one of two forms : First, the somewhat 
generalized popular approach, and second, the detailed, bio- 


graphic and genealogical form. In the first category, there is 
Early Long Island, a Colonial Study, by Martha Bockee Flint 
(1896). Mrs. Flint also published The Bockee Family, which 
is an omnibus recording a considerable number of Long Is- 
land families. One of them, Oakley, requires serious cor- 
rection. Following Mrs. Flint, and in the second category, 
was Peter Ross' History of Long Island, 3 vols., with the gene- 
alogical work done in large part by William Smith Pelletreau, 
one of Long Island's early and indefatigable, if not always 
correct, genealogists. Here, also, must be included The Ref- 
ugees from Long Island to Connecticut, by Frederick Gregory 
Mather and published in 1913 (Lyon, Albany, N. Y.), an abso- 
lutely indispensable reference work, although the genealogical 
part was contributed very largely by not-too-skilled amateurs. 
It deals of course with the era of the American Revolution. 
At the present time, the histories of Long Island by Henry 
Isham Hazelton and Paul Bailey have contributed biographical 
material of present day family connections. Late popular 
works have little genealogical significance. 

Official and Other Printed Record Sources 

General printed works include among others, land and court 
records, wills, marriages and census records. Some of these 
are by groups of individual towns on Long Island, but as they 
are collected and compiled under general headings, they are 
more conveniently referred to here. 

Basic records include vol. 14 of Documents Relating to the 
Colonial History of the State of Neiv York ( . . . Principally on 
Long Island), edited by Berthold Fernow; the four volumes of 
the Documentary History of the State of Neiv York, by E. B. 
O'Callaghan, and the Calendar of Dutch Manuscripts from the 
largely burned collection of colonial manuscripts on file in the 
New York State Library at Albany, New York, together with 
the Calendar of English Manuscripts from the same source. 

The wills and administrations for Long Island have been 
maintained in various places, and the earlier wills were filed 
principally in New York City, with notable exceptions. Ab- 
stracts of Wills on File in the Surrogate's Office, City of New 


York, beginning in 1665 and through 1800, were published in 
the Collections of the New York Historical Society, beginning 
in 1892. The abstracter was William Smith Pelletreau, but 
his zeal was not matched by his accuracy, for two volumes of 
corrections had to be published in 1907 and 1908; and the 
exact researcher should go to the original records. Berthold 
Fernow edited Calendar of Wills on File and Recorded at Al- 
bany, Neiv York, many of which are for Long Island during 
the same period. In Suffolk County, the earliest probates 
were filed in the Lester Will Book, which Mr. Pelletreau bowd- 
lerized as Early Long Island Wills of Suffolk County, 1691- 
1703, in 1897. For records filed in New York City and which 
may refer to Long Islanders, see also Guide to Genealogical 
end Biographical Sources for Neiv York City (Manhattan) 
1783-1898 (1954), by Rosalie Fellows Bailey. 

The Office of the Secretary of State in New York has pub- 
lished the early marriage licenses issued before 1784 under 
Names of Persons for tvhom Marriage Licenses were Issued 
by the Secretary of the Province; a supplemental list was also 
published, many referring to 17th century unions. With 
these should be included Neiv York Marriage Licenses in the 
Archives of the Neiv York Historical Society, by Robert H. 

General Genealogical Works and Workers 

Long Island's first publishing genealogist may well have 
been Jordan Seaman of Jericho, whose Copy of an account 
Written by Jordan Seaman was printed in 1800. However, 
this account was but slowly followed by others for at least 
sixty years. Studies on individual families actively began in 
the last two decades of the 19th century, stimulated by a group 
of early genealogists who had the pick-and-shovel work to do. 

Teunis Huntting compiled his MS Long Island Genealogies 
during this period ; a near contemporary of his, James Le 
Baron Willard, also compiled a manuscript of the same name. 
Both of these manuscripts are in the library of the Long Is- 
land Historical Society. The redoubtable Mary Powell Bun- 
ker published her well-known Long Island Genealogies in 1895 


after many years of collection of materials, and reading proof 
with failing eyesight. In the 20th century, Charles J. Werner 
published his Genealogies of Long Island Families. All of 
these contain a certain amount of critical research work, 
family records, and hopeless mistakes. The pitfalls some- 
times seem to be unavoidable, as the present writer knows 
from compiling his Colonial Families of Long Island, New 
York and Connecticut, which has reached its fourth volume. 
Other works covering not only Long Island but adjacent areas 
as well have been published by William S. Pelletreau, William 
Richard Cutter and Cuyler Reynolds. Individual genealogies 
and pedigree books recently published are too numerous to list ; 
it may be mentioned that the late Mrs. Samuel K. (Josephine 
C.) Frost was an author or compiler of many. 

Kings County and. Borough 

Ordinarily, modern local maps do not indicate the bounda- 
ries of the towns which comprised Kings County, and which 
were the original centers of civil and ecclesiastical records: 
Brooklyn (Breuckelen), Flatbush (Vlackebos), Bushwick (Bo- 
schwyck), Flatlands (Nieuw Amersfoort), New Utrecht and 
Gravesend. Later, the town of New Lots was separated from 
Flatbush. The settlers were predominantly Dutch, with 
French, Belgian, English, German and Scandinavian nationali- 
ties participating in the colonization. 

Basic records include town and court records, wills, deeds, 
church registers, cemetery inscriptions and vital records, most 
of the last being of more recent date. 

None of the town records have been published in any com- 
plete form. The early records of Brooklyn were reputedly 
taken by the British during the war of the American Revolu- 
tion. The originals for the other towns are in the Commis- 
sioner of Records' Office in Brooklyn; they include town rec- 
ords for: 

Bushwick, 1660-1825. 

Flatbush, 1652-1818 (this includes wills, 1670-1708, court 
actions, 1659-1692, and deeds also). 


Flatlands, 1655-1868 (including court records, 1661-1684, 
and deeds). 

New Utrecht, 1659-1894 (including deeds). 
Gravesend, 1645-1872 (including court records, 1661-1699 
and deeds). 

The late Henry Onderdonk transcribed some of these in his 
Kings County Records, 1666-1775, the manuscript of which 
is in the library of the Long Island Historical Society. The 
Society has also a typewritten copy of the early town records 
of Bushwick. 

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record has 
published "Abstracts of Kings County Wills" (vol. 47, pp. 161, 
227; vol. 48, p. 79) and "Abstracts of Deeds" (vol. 48, pp. 110, 
291, 355 and vol. 54, pp. 105, 241, 303) . Printed early church 
records include those for the Reformed Dutch Churches in 
Brooklyn (Holland Society Year Book, 1897) and Flatbush 
(ibid., 1898). Those for New Utrecht were published in the 
New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 73, p. 
96; and vital records for Gravesend were published in the 
same, vol. 4, p. 199. Cemetery records have been published 
by the Kings County Genealogical Club and issued privately 
by William A. Eardeley, among others. For general accounts 
of the first settlers, A History of the City of Brooklyn, pub- 
lished in 1867-70 by Henry R. Stiles in three volumes, gives 
much information for Brooklyn and Bushwick. This has been 
augmented by the fine work of Andrew J. Provost, Jr., whose 
Early Settlers of Bushwick, in two volumes has been com- 

The mentor of all Kings County genealogists is the late 
Teunis G . Bergen, whose Register in Alphabetical Order of 
Early Settlers of Kings County was published in 1881. This 
work has provided many a Kings County family with clues 
to its Long Island ancestry; it includes the famous Sarah 
(Rapalje) Bergen, reputedly the first white female child born 
in the New Netherlands, and who crossed the East River in 
a large washtub. 


Queens County and Borough, and Nassau County 

These two present-day political units were originally in- 
cluded in the older Queens County, and contain six towns, at 
the present time three in each county. These are Newtown, 
Flushing and Jamaica in modern Queens, and North Hemp- 
stead, South Hempstead and Oyster Bay in Nassau County. 

The earlier wills and deeds for this entire area, when not 
filed in the depositaries already mentioned, were recorded at 
Jamaica. These records have been transcribed for the Long 
Island Collection of the Queensboro Public Library at the lat- 
ter place, and copies are also in the library of the Long Island 
Historical Society. Indexes and some abstracts for 1787-1835 
were privately gotten out in two volumes in 1918 by William 
A. Eardeley. 

The town records of Flushing have been burned, with but 
little saved except from other sources. Those of the other 
towns have been published in very considerable part ; they in- 
clude also deeds and some wills (Jamaica and Oyster Bay) and 
court records (Newtown). Those for North Hempstead and 
South Hempstead are together as the original town repre- 
sented by them bore the single name; they include records 
in all the categories cited. 

The towns are well represented by published church rec- 
ords. Those of the Reformed Churches for Newtown and 
Jamaica have been transcribed by Josephine C. Frost; those 
for Wolver Hollow (in Oyster Bay) appear in the New York 
Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 73, pp. 26, 121, 200, 
and 273. The last provided the basic record for Henry A. 
Stoutenburgh's A documentary history of het (the) Neder- 
duytsche Gemeente, Dutch congregation of Oyster Bay, pub- 
lished in parts from 1902 to 1907. Those for Manhasset 
(Hempstead) have been transcribed by Henry Onderdonk, Jr., 
and Josephine C. Frost. Ladd's History of Grace Church 
(Episcopal) , Jamaica, New York, includes records of the 
Episcopal churches of Jamaica and Newton. In this con- 
nection, it may be mentioned that Mrs. Samuel K. (Josephine 
C.) Frost's transcriptions of Long Island church records for 
a great number of Long Island communities, in all counties, 


are in the library of the Neiv York Genealogical and Bio- 
graphical Society, New York, N. Y. 

The records of transactions of the Society of Friends have 
been published by William Wade Hinshaw in his Encyclo- 
paedia of American Quaker Genealogy, vol. 3 (New York). 
This includes all meetings on Long Island and notably those of 
Flushing, Westbury and Jericho. 

The Presbyterian church records of Newtown have been 
published as vol. 8 of Collections of the New York Genealogi- 
cal and Biographical Society; and those for Hempstead in the 
New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 53, pp. 
235, 381 and vol. 54, pp. 30, 138. Those of the oldest Episco- 
pal church, St. George's at Hempstead, have also been pub- 
lished in the Record in vols. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 24. 
The records of the Episcopal church at Jamaica have been 
transcribed by Henry Onderdonk and Josephine C. Frost. 

Some of the towns have not been without well-known his- 
torians and genealogists ; James Riker, who published on New- 
town families in his History of Newtown; the well-known 
Henry Onderdonk of whom we have already spoken, whose 
publications include Documents and Letters Intended to Illus- 
trate the Revolutionary Incidents of Queens County, and The 
Annals of Hempstead; and Mrs. Samuel K. (Josephine C.) 
Frost, whose transcripts of church and cemetery records have 
placed every Long Island genealogist in her debt. 

Suffolk County 

This large county contains the towns of Brookhaven, East 
Hampton, Huntington, Islip, Shelter Island, Smithtown, 
Southampton and Southold ; and more recently Riverhead 
(from Southold) and Babylon (from Huntington). The rec- 
ords pertaining to this county are fairly complete and many 
of them have been published. The county records are filed at 
Riverhead, the county seat. 

The wills and administrations of the county to 1850 have 
been abstracted and are on file in the library of the Long Is- 
land Historical Society, and in that of the D. A. R. at Wash- 


ington, D. C. Indexes of the Surrogate's records with some 
abstracts of wills were issued by William A. Eardeley in 1905. 
Deeds on file at the county seat have not been published; a 
manuscript index of earlier grantors and grantees is in the 
library of the New York Genealogical and Biographical 
Society in New York City. 

The town records, including deeds filed in town halls, have 
been published for Smithtown, Brookhaven, Southampton, and 
East Hampton, and are quite complete with respect to the 
earlier records. Likewise, the earliest town records of South- 
old have been published ; and selected deeds, town records, as- 
sessment lists, vital records and Revolutionary papers have 
been published for Huntington and Babylon. The early rec- 
ords of Islip, rendered unavailable by a fire years ago, were 
only recently discovered, and are at the town clerk's office. 

The early residents of the county were largely of the Pres- 
byterian faith. Printed church records exist for Babylon 
(published by the church), East Hampton (in the back of 
volume 5 of the printed Town Records) , Huntington (edited 
by Moses L. Scudder), Smithtown (New York Genealogical 
and Biographical Record, vol. 42, pp. 128, 272 ; vol. 44, pp, 279, 
384; and vol. 45, p. 8), and Southold (ibid., vol. 64, pp. 217, 
322; vol. 65, pp. 47, 152, 261, 329; and vol. 66, pp. 51, 257, and 
293). Early church records of Brookhaven are said to have 
been lost during the American Revolution; but the town his- 
torian Osborn Shaw has filed in the Town House at Patchogue 
all the known early gravestone inscriptions of the town, which 
compensates to a considerable extent for this loss. The Sal- 
mon Records of Southold comprise the vital statistics of this 
town for the pioneer days, and the Rev. Jacob Mailman has 
preserved the records of Shelter Island in his Historical 
Papers of Shelter Island and Its Presbyterian Church. 

It remains to notice the works of some early historians : 
Henry P. Hedges History of East Hampton (with genealo- 
gies) ; George R. Howell's The Early History of Southampton, 
L. I., with Genealogies (second edition) ; and Personal Index 
of the Town of Southold, by Charles B. Moore. Of late, Mrs. 
J. E. Rattray has revised Hedges' work in her East Hampton 


History and Genealogies, which should serve as an inspiration 
for other town historians. 


In this chapter an endeavor has been made to summarize 
some of the basic and indispensable references for the gene- 
alogist interested in Long Island families. The reader doubt- 
less knows of others which might have been mentioned. How- 
ever, the genealogical reference works available grow while 
this is being written, and the research opportunities become 
ever more extensive. A development of the bibliography 
given herein, together with on-the-spot examination of the 
various classes of records cited, should provide the researcher 
with much information. 



The Colonial Settlements 

The history of New Jersey properly begins on 23-24 June, 
1664, when the territory now comprised within the boundaries 
of that State were granted by the Duke of York (afterwards 
King James II) to John, Lord Berkeley, and Sir George Cart- 
eret, Proprietors of Carolina. It was named Nova Caesarea 
after the Channel Island of Jersey, over which Carteret had 
formerly been governor. 

New Jersey was a part of New Sweden from 1638 until 
it fell to the victorious Dutch troops in 1655. From the latter 
year until the English conquest of 1664 it belonged to New 
Netherland. There were some Swedish and Finnish families 
settled in Salem and Burlington Counties. 

English Puritans from New Haven, Connecticut, had begun 
to make inroads into New Sweden in 1641, but after the Eng- 
lish conquest 23 years later New Englanders and Long Is- 
landers began to flock to the region, settling in Elizabeth, 
Shrewsbury and Middletown. Newcomers from Massachu- 
setts Bay and New Hampshire founded Woodbridge in 1665, 
and in the next year Piscataway was established by settlers 
from Piscataqua, near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Con- 
gregationalists from Connecticut showed up at Newark in the 
same year. Salem was founded by John Fenwick and a group 
of Quakers from England in 1675. 

New Jersey was divided into two provinces in 1676, the 
present North Jersey being called East Jersey and governed 
first by Carteret and later by a board of 24 proprietors. The 
present South Jersey was known as West Jersey, and came 
under the rule of William Penn and other Quaker leaders who 
had acquired Lord Berkeley's share of the land. Beginning in 
1677 and continuing for a number of years, Quakers came 


from England and settled at Burlington, Gloucester, Newton, 
Rancocas, Willingsborough, and Pyne Poynte (now Camden). 

The twin provinces were united into the Royal Province of 
New Jersey in 1701/2, and placed under the rule of the Gover- 
nor of New York. It shared its chief executive with New 
York from 1702 to 1738, when it acquired its own royal gover- 
nor. The last Governor of New Jersey to be appointed by the 
Crown was William Franklin, son of the redoubtable patriot, 
Benjamin Franklin. 

With this brief survey of the State's colonial history, we 
turn our attention now to the genealogical resources of New 

Printed Works 

New Jersey has many publications which provide much in- 
formation on genealogical subjects. Francis Bazley Lee's 
Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of Neiv Jer- 
sey (4 vols., 1910) records the genealogies of a large number 
of the State's families, but many errors have been found in it 
and care must be exercised in its use. 

The Lewis Historical Publishing Company (later the Ameri- 
can Historical Publishing Society) published histories of 
South Jersey (5 vols., 1924), Northwestern New Jersey (5 
vols., 1927) and New Jersey (6 vols., 1930-32) which contain 
a great deal of biographical and genealogical data, but, again, 
caution must be exercised in their use for the family records 
were contributed by the families themselves and are subject to 
error. A useful work which gives not only sketches of fami- 
lies but source materials is John Edwin Stillwell's 5-volume 
Historical and Genealogical Miscellany : Data Relating to the 
Settlement and Settlers of New York and New Jersey. 

A work that is much used is Orra Eugene Monnette's First 
Settlers of Ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodbridge, 
Olde East New Jersey, 166U-171U. It was issued in seven 
parts, beginning in 1930. So long as it relies on source- 
materials it may be considered as reasonably accurate. But 
Mr. Monnette frequently indulged in speculations and argu- 


mentation. His theories concerning the origins of East Jersey 
families should always be treated with caution. He was 
easily offended when criticized, and wasted much printer's ink 
denouncing his opponents. His real contribution lay in the 
compilation of source materials. A thoughtful evaluation of 
Monnette's work was published by Donald Lines Jacobus in 
The American Genealogist, vol. 34, October 1958, pp 213-215. 

Theodore Frelinghuysen Chambers' book, The Early Ger- 
mans of New Jersey: Their History, Churches, and Geneal- 
ogies (1895) is another work that must be treated cautiously. 
In his enthusiasm, Mr. Chambers occasionally introduced 
families of English and French origin into his pages, so that 
one wonders what happened to the Germans in New Jersey. 
But he does provide us with much useful information. 

New Jersey's contribution to our early wars is contained in 
William S. Stryker's Official Register of Officers and Men of 
New Jersey in the Revolutionary War (1872) ; Records of Offi- 
cers and Men of New Jersey in Wars, 1791-1815 (1909) ; and 
Records of Officers and Men of Netv Jersey In The Civil War, 
1861-1865 (2 vols., 1876). x 

The most important periodicals relating to New Jersey 
history and genealogy are the Proceedings of the New Jersey 
Historical Society, which has been published regularly since 
1845, and the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, which 
was started in 1925 by the Genealogical Society of New Jer- 
sey. The latter journal was edited for many years by the 
late Russell Bruce Rankin, F. A. S. G. It devotes itself chiefly 
to source-materials (church records, Friends' meeting rec- 
ords, etc.), but also has articles on individual families. For 
a number of years it carried a series of articles entitled, "Gene- 
alogical Dictionary of New Jersey", by Charles Carroll Gard- 
ner, F. A. S. G. Since 1953, a quarterly magazine devoted to 
the State's history and genealogy has been issued by Harold 

1 The New Jersey Department of Defense has an alphabetical record, on 
cards, of every name appearing: on the Revolutionary pay rolls and 
vouchers, which gives many names not in any printed list. Microfilms 
of these cards are in the State Library at Trenton and the D. A. R. 
Library in Washington, D. C. 


A. Sonn, of Springfield, New Jersey, under the title of The 
New Jersey Genesis. 

New Jersey Archives 

New Jersey is more fortunate than some states in having 
its ancient archives in published form. In 1880 was begun 
the publication of the long series of volumes known as the 
Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New Jersey 
but more popularly referred to as the New Jersey Archives. 
Many of the volumes deal with the acts and proceedings of the 
Provincial Legislature, but there are 13 volumes in the series 
which contain abstracts of wills from 1670 to 1817. Volume 
XXI is the Calendar of Records in the Office of the Secretary 
of State, covering the period 1664-1703. The documents in- 
cluded are East Jersey Patents and Deeds, Revel's Book of 
Surveys, West Jersey Records, Salem Surveys and Deeds, and 
Gloucester Deeds. The value of the deeds is that they reveal 
the homes in the British Isles of many of New Jersey's first 
settlers. Volume XXII of the New Jersey Archives contains 
marriage records, but it must be emphasized that these printed 
records are incomplete. 

From 1901 to 1917 five volumes were published under the 
title, Documents Relating to the Revolutionary History of 
New Jersey; this work is known as the Second Series of the 
New Jersey Archives. 

Societies and Libraries 

The New Jersey Historical Society at 230 Broadway, 
Newark 4, New Jersey, possesses original records and tran- 
scripts that should not be overlooked by the genealogist of 
New Jersey families. There one can find two volumes of the 
East Jersey Quit Rent Books (1683 and 1685), the Mansfield 
Township (Burlington County) Record Book, 1697-1773, Bur- 
lington County Birth Records, 1770-85, maintained by a Quaker 
resident of the county; Benjamin Smith Docket Book, 1788-92 
(records, including marriage records, of a Justice of the Peace 
for Hunterdon and Salem Counties) ; and many other records. 
It has also on microfilm the registers of the Swedish Evangeli- 


cal Lutheran Church and its successor, Trinity Protestant 
Episcopal Church, which were published in 1938 as The Rec- 
ords of the Swedish Lutheran Churches at Raccoon and 
Penns Neck, 1713-1786. The Society owns splendid gene- 
alogical collections, family papers and portraits, including the 
magnificent collection of Charles Carroll Gardner, who as- 
sembled notes and papers on thousands of New Jersey fami- 

The Genealogical Society of New Jersey does not have a 
headquarters, but its address is P. O. Box 208, Newark. 
There are about 15 local historical societies which are doing 
a fine job of preserving the records of their counties and 
localities. Many of them publish very useful magazines and 
monographs. A list of such societies appears in Stevenson's 
Search and Research (Revised Edition, 1959), pp. 192-194. 

The Division of the State Library, Archives and History 
Department of Education, at Trenton, New Jersey, has card 
indexes for births, marriages, and deaths in the 18th and 19th 
centuries, prepared by the WPA Historical Records Survey. 
Its microfilms include lists of ratables during the last quarter 
of the 18th and the first quarter of the 19th century for the 
following counties: Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Cumber- 
land, Essex, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, 
Morris, Salem, Somerset and Sussex. 

Among out-of-state societies which devote considerable shelf 
space to New Jersey are the Genealogical Society of Pennsyl- 
vania in Philadelphia, which has transcripts and photostats of 
records of 13 counties, with special emphasis on Burlington; 
and the D. A. R. Library at Washington which has transcripts 
of church registers, abstracts of wills, Bible records, military 
records, etc., for many New Jersey counties. 

Official Records 

New Jersey is divided into twenty-one counties, and at the 
respective court houses are located the usual types of gene- 
alogical records, such as wills, deeds, mortgages, etc. 

Although New Jersey has not attempted to centralize all of 


its records, it has assembled at Trenton, the State capital, a 
great many original records, and it is well to begin a search 

The Secretary of State's Office has the ancient deed books 
from the earliest settlements in East and West New Jersey; 
a card index has been compiled for them. The abstracts for 
the period of 1665-1703 have been printed in vol. XXI of the 
New Jersey Archives, but these are the documents themselves 
covering a longer period of time. An important source of bio- 
graphical information relating to colonial ancestors is Liber 
AAA of Commissions, 1703-74, of which abstracts for the 
period 1703-69 were printed in the Publications of the Gene- 
alogical Society of Pennsylvania, vols. VI-X. The Secretary 
of State also has custody of bound volumes of marriage 
bonds, 1711-95; there is a card index for them. 

Wills were formerly available in the Office of the Secretary 
of State, but are now under the jurisdiction of the Clerk of 
the Superior Court, Room 327, State House Annex. Before 
visiting the Court, it would be well for the researcher to con- 
sult the printed Index to Wills, Inventories, Etc., in the Office 
of the Secretary of State Prior to 1901 (3 vols., 1912-13). 
"Unrecorded Wills" are indexed in vol. Ill, pp. 1417-52. In 
order to facilitate the search at the Superior Court for the 
desired will, the researcher should first consult these index 
volumes and obtain the testator's name, the year of probate, 
and the number of the will. 

Vital statistics were started at Woodbridge as early as 1671, 
and all through the colonial period, for both East and West 
Jersey, and the later Royal Province of New Jersey, legisla- 
tion was enacted requiring the maintenance of such records. 
However, little attention was paid to the requirement. In 
1799, the State Legislature passed a law stating that parents 
could, if they desired, have their children's births registered. 
It was also ordered that deaths must be registered, within 
three years of the occurrence. These laws also were largely 

In 1848, the registration of births, marriages, and deaths 


was made compulsory in New Jersey. The present custodian 
of all vital statistics since that year is the State Bureau of 
Vital Statistics, Department of Health, State House, Trenton, 
New Jersey. However, the cities sometimes maintained 
such records also, and there are instances in which no record 
was available at Trenton, but was found in the records of the 
city wherein the person lived. 



Printed Reference Works 

Pennsylvania has a large number of useful printed books 
on genealogy and local history. One of the early writers on 
genealogy in the Keystone State was John W. Jordan, whose 
Colonial Families of Philadelphia (3 vols., 1911) is a classic. 
Although nearly half a century has elapsed since its publi- 
cation, it may still be regarded as an authoritative work on 
the history of old Philadelphia families. The successor work, 
Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania, is now 
in its 19th volume. Its value is impaired by the "sources" 
listed ; they consist generally of more or less accurate printed 
books and "Family Records", a vague statement which proves 
nothing. The series are helpful for providing clues for 
further research, but it must be remembered that the editor 
has not checked the pedigrees contributed by members of the 
family included in the volumes and, where doubt exists, pri- 
mary sources should be consulted. 

Numerous histories of Pennsylvania counties have been pub- 
lished. Some of them are invaluable for their genealogical 
and biographical accounts, such as Battle's and Davis's works 
on Bucks County (1887 and 1905, respectively), Cope's history 
of Chester and Delaware Counties (2 vols., 1904), Bean's 
Montgomery County history (1884), Watson's celebrated An- 
nals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania in the Olden Time (final 
edition, 3 vols., 1898) — poorly arranged but invaluable for the 
historian, and, with a little patient digging, for the genealo- 
gist ; Westcott and Scharf 's History of Philadelphia ( 3 vols., 
1884), and Dunkelberger's history of Snyder County (1949), 
a compendious work of 982 pages which has no index. 

An important bibliographical reference work for the student 
of Pennsylvania is the Bibliography of Pennsylvania History, 
edited by Norman B. Wilkinson (2nd ed., 1957). It expands 


the 1946 Writings on Pennsylvania History and advances the 
date to 1952. It is very inclusive in its coverage. 


The most important genealogical periodical for Penn- 
sylvania is the Publications of the Genealogical Society of 
Pennsylvania, which was renamed more appropriately the 
Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine when the late Dr. John 
Goodwin Kerndon, F. A. S. G., became its editor in 1947. The 
first 15 volumes contain tombstone inscriptions, church rec- 
ords, abstracts of wills, vital statistics, Friends' meeting 
records, etc. The magazine since volume 15 continues to 
publish source materials, but in addition it presents important 
family studies contributed by such scholars as Dr. Herndon, 
Lewis D. Cook, Meredith B. Colket, Robert M. Torrence, 
Rosalie Fellows Bailey, George H. S. King, H. Minot Pitman, 
William J. Hoffman, Walter Lee Sheppard, George Valentine 
Massey II, and others. 

The next most important periodical relating to Pennsylvania 
genealogy is, curiously enough, the National Genealogical 
Society Quarterly, published at Washington, D. C., since 1912. 
A review of its 47 volumes reveals an astonishing number of 
articles describing the location of sources and facilities for 
genealogical research in Pennsylvania, as well as innumer- 
able Bible records, cemetery inscriptions, family data, etc. 
As examples, the Quarterly has published articles entitled 
"Sources for Genealogy and Local History of the Scotch-Irish 
of Central Pennsylvania", by Raymond M. Bell (1945) ; "Geo- 
graphical Aspects of Pennsylvania German Genealogical 
Study", by Albert H. Gerberich (1946) ; "German Reformed 
Church Records in Pennsylvania", by William J. Hinke 
(1949) ; and "Schwenckf elder Genealogical Records", by Se- 
lina Gerhard Schultz (1951). 

Printed Sources 

The most-used printed source material (and the most 
valuable for the colonial, Revolutionary, and post-Revolu- 
tionary periods) are the Colonial Records of Pennsylvania 


(16 vols., 1838-53), and the ten series of the Pennsylvania Ar- 
chives, which commenced publication in 1852. The series of 
the Archives of special value for genealogists are the Second 
(militia rolls, church records), the Third (militia rolls, tax 
lists, lists of land warrantees), the Fifth (muster rolls, chiefly 
of the Provincial and Revolutionary periods), and the Sixth 
(muster rolls covering the period from the Revolution to the 
War of 1812, marriage and baptismal records, inventories of 
estates confiscated during the Revolution, etc.). The millions 
of names in these series are indexed. The Second and Third 
Series have their own indexes, but the Fifth Series is indexed 
in the two parts of vol. 15 of the Sixth Series, while the 
Seventh Series constitutes an index for the first 14 volumes of 
the Sixth Series. 

In 1949, the Division of Public Records of Harrisburg Issued 
a Guide to The Published Archives of Pennsylvania Covering 
the 138 Volumes of Colonial Records and Pennsylvania Ar- 
chives, Series I-IX, by Henry Howard Eddy, with an Alpha- 
betical Finding List and Two Special Indexes, by Martha L. 
Simonetti. The Guide provides a quick reference to topics in 
the Colonial Records and the Archives. 

The Division of Public Records has custody of the official 
passenger lists showing arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 
during the period 1727-1808. Those lists which date before 
the American Revolution concern immigrants from the Con- 
tinent of Europe only, and do not cover persons who were 
British subjects. Almost all of the individuals included in the 
early lists were German or Swiss in origin. These lists of im- 
migrants have been published completely in Strassburger and 
Hinke's Pennsylvania German Pioneers (3 vols., 1954), copies 
of which can be found at most large libraries and historical 
societies. Volume II of the set carries facsimiles of all signa- 
tures occurring in the original lists. Most of the passengers 
were described vaguely as "Palatines" or "Foreigners", but a 
few ship lists contained the original home of the settlers, such 
as Hessen, Hanau, Wurttemberg, etc. 

The Division of Public Records also has custody of official 


lists of aliens naturalized by Pennsylvania Courts during the 
years 1740-73. All information contained in these lists is 
available in printed form, some in Pennsylvania Archives, 
Second Series, vol. II, and others in M. S. Giuseppi's Naturali- 
zations of Foreign Protestants in the American and West 
Indian Colonies (Pursuant to Statute 13 George II, c. 7) 
(Publications of the Huguenot Society of London, vol. XXIV, 
1921). By special act of Assembly, aliens were on occasion 
granted a type of naturalization more limited than that 
granted by the courts. The numerous special acts passed for 
the purpose of naturalizing citizens are contained in the 
Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania, vols. II- VII, inclusive. 

In addition to the muster rolls for the French and Indian 
War, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812, published 
in the Pennsylvania Archives, a valuable record of Pennsyl- 
vania's soldiers in the Civil War is contained in Samuel P. 
Bates' History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65 (5 vols., 
1869-71). These hefty volumes are important for their de- 
tailed regimental histories. They include complete rosters, 
but unfortunately only the names of commissioned officers are 
given in the long index in vol. 5. 

Some colonial court records have been published, among 
them The Record of the Court at Upland in Pennsylvania, 1676 
to 1681 (Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1860), and the 
Record of the Courts of Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1681- 
1697 (The Colonial Society of Pennsylvania, 1910). 

Genealogical and Historical Societies 

Pennsylvania has a number of societies in which gene- 
alogists may find information of value for their researches. 

One of the most important of these organizations is the 
Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania at 1300 Locust Street, 
Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the emphasis there is on South- 
eastern Pennsylvania; its holdings are weak in the western, 
central, and northern parts of the State. Its collections con- 
sist of abstracts or copies of wills, administrations, church 
registers, Orphans' Court records, newspaper obituaries and 
death notices, unpublished family genealogies, original 18th 


century Supreme Court records (in 45 unindexed volumes), 
transcripts of English Friends' records from the earliest 
period of Quaker history to 1725 (invaluable for identifying 
the English homes of Quaker settlers in the American colo- 
nies), etc. The Society also possesses many private gene- 
alogical collections of which the best known is that of Gilbert 
Cope, whose data on 2500 families in Chester and other South- 
eastern Pennsylvania and nearby New Jersey counties are ar- 
ranged alphabetically in 90 volumes. 

The Genealogical Society is housed in the building of the 
Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The latter organization's 
Manuscripts Department contains many items of genealogical 
interest which may be picked up in the excellent card index. 
One unindexed collection in the Manuscripts Department 
which is of extreme value for the family historian is that of 
Gilbert Cope. It must not be confused with his well-organized 
collection in the Genealogical Society. The Historical Society's 
Cope collection contains marriage records, notes on families, 
tax lists, petitions, etc. One can spend days with this vast 
accumulation of data and still not exhaust its possibilities for 
increasing one's genealogical knowledge. 

Pennsylvania also has a number of county societies which 
are doing an excellent job of preserving the historical and 
genealogical records of their respective areas. In 1939, the 
Pennsylvania Historical Commission published as its Bulletin 
No. 774 a Guide to Depositories of Manuscript Collections in 
Pennsylvania, which briefly describes the holdings of libraries 
and societies throughout the State. 

The State Library 1 

The Genealogical Section of the Pennsylvania State Library 
at Harrisburg possesses a wide collection of source material. 
It has more than 5000 printed genealogies and many county 
histories of Pennsylvania and other states. Graveyards and 
church records are listed under the state and county where 
they are located. Various chapters of the D. A. R. and in- 

1 The section on the State Library was contributed by Mrs. Ethel S. 
Davenport, State Genealogist, State Library. 


dividuals throughout the State and Nation have contributed 
church and cemetery records and personal family Bible rec- 

The alphabetical card index, consisting of 360 drawers of 
3x5 inch cards, is one of the best in Pennsylvania. 

Copies of the Federal Census taken every ten years in Penn- 
sylvania, from the year 1790 to 1880, inclusive, can be used by 
patrons ; Index to Registrations of Deaths of the City of Phila- 
delphia, 1803-60 (transcript, 33 vols.) ; Philadelphia City 
Directories from 1791 to 1806, and other directories of the 
early period as well as early county atlas books are used to 
locate families and their properties. 

Official Records 

The Division of Public Records, a branch of the Pennsyl- 
vania Historical and Museum Commission known prior to 
1948 as the State Archives, at Harrisburg, has official records 
almost exclusively, especially records of military service by 
Pennsylvania during the 1775-1861 period. Many of these 
are too fragile for consultation by others than the staff, but 
certificates can be secured for a fee of $1.00. Free Informa- 
tion Leaflets are available and helpful. 

At the Division of Public Records indexes remain partial, 
but progress continues. There are microfilms covering many 
of the pre-1850 records of thirteen of the older eastern counties 
and also films for the Federal censuses for Pennsylvania taken 
from 1830 through 1880. These can be consulted in readers 
at the Division. A list of the county films available appeared 
in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly for June 1954, 
but inadvertently Chester County was omitted from that list, 
and more recently Bucks County has been added. 

Information as to enrollment or service with Pennslyvania 
military units during the period 1775-1861 can, in many cases, 
be furnished by the Division of Public Records. However, 
the older records are incomplete and, therefore, failure to find 
a record must not be taken as negative proof. The military 
records in the Division's custody consist of thousands of rolls 
and accounts, papers which for the most part remain without 


indexes. Military records of persons serving with Pennsyl- 
vania units after 1861 are maintained in the Old Records 
Section, Department of Military Affairs, 29 North Office Build- 
ing, Harrisburg. 

Unlike Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and certain other 
states, in Pennsylvania there has been no centralization of 
county records. The originals of wills, deeds, mortgages, and 
other official records of local origin remain in the 67 court 
houses of the Commonwealth. The records for the City and 
County of Philadelphia are merged in the City Hall at 13th 
and Market Streets, Philadelphia. The Department of 
Records of Philadelphia was created by the Charter of April 
1951 which reorganized the City Government ; it is, therefore, 
the first of the older American cities to establish a municipal 
archives. In 1957, Charles E. Hughes, Jr., City Archivist, 
and Allen Weinberg, Archival Examiner, published a Guide 
to the Municipal Archives of the City and County of Phila- 
delphia, which describes briefly the documents preserved by 
the Department of Records, some of which one would not 
expect to find in municipal records, such as the 91 volumes of 
the Declaration of Aliens Docket, 1821-1911, and Index to 
Naturalization Declarations, 1811-1903 (71 boxes, indexed in 
12 index volumes), both included in the records of the Court 
of Common Pleas. 

While in 1682 legislation was passed requiring the regis- 
tration of births, marriages, and burials, little attention 
was paid to this requirement. Records of marriages, births, 
and deaths were kept by the Registers of Wills from 1852 to 
1854, and such records may be found in the various county 
court houses, historical societies, and (very incompletely) the 
Division of Public Records. For a few years, commencing in 
1885, the various Boards of Health maintained vital statistics, 
which are on record in the court houses. For the period since 
1 January 1906, all records of births, marriages and deaths 
have been kept by the Vital Statistics Section of the Depart- 
ment of Health. Divorce records are on file in the office of 
the Prothonotary at the court house in the county where the 
divorce was granted. 


While private deeds transferring title are recorded at the 
Office of the Recorder of Deeds for the appropriate county, 
Pennsylvania land patents, including military grants, are on 
record at the Bureau of Land Records, Department of Internal 
Affairs, in the Capitol Building at Harrisburg. They are very 
well indexed. 

Church Records 

Pennsylvania is fortunate in having a number of church 
archives where are preserved registers, correspondence, etc. 
The Friends' Historical Library at Swarthmore College in- 
cludes among its extensive holdings Quaker meeting records 
(minutes, birth, burial, marriage, removal and membership 
records). Presbyterian church registers are at the Presby- 
terian Historical Society, Philadelphia ; Reformed registers at 
the Historical Society of the Reformed Church in the United 
States, Fackenthal Library at Franklin and Marshall College, 
Lancaster ; Episcopal records at the Archives of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church, Diocese of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; 
Moravian records at the Archives of the Unitas Fratrum or 
Moravian Church in the United States of America, Northern 
Province, Bethlehem ; Lutheran records at the Lutheran Theo- 
logical Seminary, Krauth Memorial Library, Philadelphia; 
etc. Many registers are, of course, still in the custody of the 
churches. A number of church registers and Friends' meet- 
ing records have been published, in whole or in part. 

A Peculiar Problem 

Pennsylvania presents a peculiar problem which is not al- 
ways understood by the genealogists of its families. During 
the course of the 18th century what now constitutes the north- 
ern tier of counties was claimed by Connecticut, while a large 
segment of the southern part was once considered part of 
Maryland. Virginia laid claim to the southwestern portion 
of the State. As a result of these claims, settlers from Conn- 
ecticut, Maryland and Virginia poured into Pennsylvania and 
took up land. Deeds to these properties are not necessarily 
recorded in Pennsylvania, but may be found in the states 
which occupied portions of the Commonwealth. For instance, 


Virginia's southwestern portion of Pennsylvania (which ex- 
tended as far as Pittsburgh, was known as the District of 
West Augusta, being considered a part of Augusta County. 
The Augusta County records at Staunton, Virginia, contain 
many deeds for lands presently in Pennsylvania. An ex- 
cellent account of the conflicting claims of these three states 
is contained in Frances Strong Helman's article, 'Trailing An- 
cestors Through Pennsylvania", National Genealogical Society 
Quarterly, vol. 39, March 1951. In 1936, the Department of 
Internal Affairs of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania pub- 
lished a "Genealogical Map of the Counties'* which illustrates 
this problem very well. 


Most of the records of Delaware which can be of assistance 
to the genealogist are centralized in the Hall of Records, under 
the administration of the Public Archives Commission, in 
Dover. This Commission was established in 1905 and, at first, 
its scope was quite limited. Later, the law was modified, giv- 
ing to it the custody of all State, county, and municipal records 
from the earliest time to 1850. That law has been further 
amended so that with a few exceptions the Public Archives 
Commission now has the custody of all of these records which 
are seventy-five or more years old. For example, the land 
records of the Recorder of Deeds for each county are still re- 
tained in the local offices, as transferring them to the Public 
Archives Commission would interfere with the tracing of land 
titles. On the other hand, the Proprietary warrants and sur- 
veys for the period 1682-1776, are to be found in the Hall of 
Records. Another exception to the law mentioned above is 
that records of any State, county, or municipal agency which 
ceases to exist, must be transferred to the Public Archives 
Commission. Thus, agencies of short duration, such as the 
Delaware-New Jersey Boundary Commission, The Delaware 
Tercentenary Commission, The New Castle County Temporary 
Emergency Relief Commission, and the State Council of De- 
fense, which completed their assigned duties, have deposited 
their records in the State Archives. 

Among the groups of official records of the State, there are 
those of the executive department, which for the Revolution 
and the early Federal period contained the correspondence of 
Congress and other Federal departments with the governor. 
There are also the registers containing lists of appointments 
and official acts of the governors, as well as a series of papers 
showing the administration of such state officers, as the State 

* Reprinted from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, XXXXV, 
March 1947, pp. 1-3. 


Treasurer and Auditor, and other agencies which developed 
with the years. The Governor's Register 1674-1851, pub- 
lished by the Public Archives Commission in 1926, contains 
much valuable information regarding gubernatorial appoint- 
ments during those years. 

The military records of the State are, strictly speaking, a 
sub-division under the executive papers, inasmuch as the 
Adjutant General is an official deriving his authority from 
the Governor. Delaware military records for the Colonial 
Wars, the Revolution, and the War of 1812 have been pub- 
lished in the five volumes of the Delaware Archives. The first 
three volumes of the series comprise the records for the 
Colonial Wars and the Revolution. The few records extant 
for the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American 
War, and World War I are also in the State Archives. In ad- 
dition, an effort has been made to obtain a copy of the Separa- 
tion Form of each Delawarean serving in World War II. 
These latter records, however, will not be available for public 
examination until a later date. 

Other records under the State classification are the legis- 
lative and judicial records. There is practically nothing 
among the Colonial Legislative Papers except the early jour- 
nals, and those which are in existence, namely, 1739, 1740-42, 
1762 and 1765-70, have been published. The legislative 
papers from statehood on are fairly complete. They contain 
petitions, committee reports, communications, resolutions, bills 
not passed, messages of the Governor, and the approved or 
Enrolled Bills. There are also the published Journals of the 
House and the Senate. It should be pointed out, however, 
that the legislative papers and journals are much richer for 
historical research than for genealogical purposes. 

The judicial records cover the Colonial period as well as the 
Revolutionary and early Federal periods. In some instances, 
the court records are as recent as 1860, but in many cases it 
was found expedient to leave the original court dockets in 
their office of origin. For example, the Orphans' Court 
dockets after the period of statehood are still in those offices, 


as transferring them to the State Archives was claimed to 
interfere with legal searches. 

Among the county records, undoubtedly the richest source 
for genealogical purposes are the probate records. These 
original wills, administration accounts, settlement papers, 
distributions, inventories, and lists of sales have been trans- 
ferred to the Hall of Records and can easily be consulted there. 
Card index files have been compiled summarizing all the es- 
sential genealogical information regarding the will or ad- 
ministration account, so that a quick examination discloses 
whether or not the records of a particular estate are extant. 
By this means the time of a visiting genealogist is conserved, 
and it is not necessary to page through volumes of 17th or 
18th century writings unnecessarily. Furthermore, as an ad- 
ditional aid to genealogists and other research workers, the 
Public Archives Commission published in 1944 a Calendar of 
Kent County, Delaware, Probate Records 1680-1800, in which 
the names, dates, and other essential facts of each estate are 

Other county records of primary genealogical value are the 
guardian accounts and the vital statistics. The latter group 
of records includes birth, baptismal, marriage, and death 
records. The majority of these records were acquired from 
the office of the Clerk of the Peace of each county. Prior to 
1913, that officer was charged with recording vital statistics 
in this State. Unfortunately, the law under which they 
functioned had little compulsion, with the result that vital 
statistics were not recorded, and it was not until 1914 that the 
Bureau of Vital Statistics was established under the State 
Board of Health. Since that time, vital statistics are complete 
and consecutive. In order to supplement the many gaps 
existing in the earlier file of vital statistics, copies of church 
records have been made, newspaper files have been consulted, 
and copies of family Bibles have been solicited in an effort to 
provide records to fill these hiatuses. Numerous records have 
been acquired by this means, and it is hoped that many others 
may still be acquired from family Bibles and similar records. 

To supplement the files of vital statistics the State pur- 


chased in 1937 the large collection of "Delaware Tombstone 
Records" compiled by the late Walter G. Tatnall. Over a 
period of years Mr. Tatnall had collected and carefully com- 
piled the names and dates appearing on tombstones in the 
cemeteries and graveyards throughout the State. These are 
an invaluable source for those attempting to prove ancestry. 

Another group of private records, purchased to supplement 
the official state records, were the files of the late Rev. Joseph 
Brown Turner. Mr. Turner was a retired minister and a 
well-known genealogist, who had worked on the families of 
the Del-Mar- Va Peninsula for over forty years. He had not 
only examined the records of this region, but had traced a 
number of families to England, Ireland and Scotland. The 
files containing the results of his many years of research are 
listed by families and are available for public examination. 

Other groups of county records that may probably be of 
more interest to the historian than the genealogist are the 
official administrative records of the counties. These contain 
the minutes of the Levy Courts, the County Treasurers ac- 
counts, the County Auditor's records, the books and minutes 
of the Overseers of the Poor, Fence Viewers, Rangers, Flour 
Inspectors, Constables, Coroners Inquests, District School 
records, and those of other county offices. 

The deeds and other land records are in the court houses of 
each of the three counties at Wilmington, Dover, and George- 
town. As already mentioned, the Orphans' Court records, 
and the original wills and administration accounts after 1860, 
are also in the court houses. At present, there is a rule in 
each county that these records may be used only by an at- 
torney. Such a ruling is indeed regrettable as it interferes 
with serious research and has been very disturbing to gene- 
alogists and other research workers who have traveled from a 
distance to find that the records are not accessible to them. 
However, by making application to the resident judge of the 
particular county in which one desires to work, it is fre- 
quently possible to obtain permission from him to have access 
to the records desired. 

The only large city in Delaware is Wilmington and, as it is 


a rather old city, a considerable volume of records have been 
amassed through the years. The earlier records of Wilming- 
ton are in the custody of the Public Archives Commission, and 
the more recent ones are either in the vault of the Public 
Building in Wilmington or in their respective offices of origin. 
Among the records that would be particularly interesting for 
genealogical research are the early assessment lists, and for 
biographical purposes, the Borough Council minutes and ac- 
counts give glimpses into the life of each individual who may 
have been a member of the borough or the city council or may 
have transacted business with it. The vital statistics of Wil- 
mington for recent years are in the office of the City Board of 
Health in Wilmington. After being retained there for a 
period of about a year, they are transferred to the Bureau of 
Vital Statistics, State Board of Health, in Dover. All vital 
statistics of this city prior to 1913 which are still extant are 
in the Hall of Records in Dover. 

In addition to the state, county, and municipal records that 
have been mentioned, there are groups of unofficial records 
which may have interest for the genealogist. These are cen- 
tered, for the most part, in the Historical Society of Delaware, 
Old Town Hall, Sixth and Market Streets, Wilmington. There 
are collections of family letters, deeds, surveys, Bible records, 
church records, some tombstone records, family and mercan- 
tile account books, manuscripts of private and official nature, 
as well as local histories and genealogical reference books. In 
undertaking research, a genealogist working on Delaware 
materials should not overlook this main source of private 

Newspapers, which are often a rich source of genealogical 
and historical data, are in four main depositories: The His- 
torical Society of Delaware, The Wilmington Institute Free 
Library, the News- Journal Company (all located in Wilming- 
ton), and The Memorial Library (University of Delaware at 
Newark) . 



From the time of the landing of the first colonists from the 
Ark and Dove at Saint Mary's in 1634, Maryland history falls 
into four periods, the proprietary government (1634-89), the 
royal administration (1690-1715), the second period of pro- 
prietary rule (1716-76) and statehood (1776-date). 

The colony was founded partly as a Roman Catholic refuge 
but religious toleration was marked from the beginning. The 
Puritan element was strong, especially in Anne Arundel 
County, and a large number of Quakers also settled there and 
in Talbot County on the Eastern Shore. In later years, Dutch, 
Swedish, Scotch-Irish and French settlers came into the Cecil 
County area and there was a large German population in 
Western Maryland. After 1689 the Church of England was 
established as the state church. 

In general there are four geographical sections of the State : 
Southern Maryland (between the Potomac River and Chesa- 
peake Bay south of Washington, D. C), the Eastern Shore, the 
Baltimore area, and Western Maryland (from Frederick 
(County west). 

Among the more useful historical accounts which will pro- 
vide the background material necessary for an understanding 
of the Maryland Records are Charles M. Andrews, The Colo- 
nial Period of American History (New Haven, Conn., 1936; 
vol. 2, pp. 274-379), John T. Scharf, History of Maryland 
(Baltimore, 1879), and Clayton C. Hall, The Lords Baltimore 
and the Maryland Palatinate (Baltimore, 1902). A recent 
"commercial" history is Matthew Page Andrews, Tercente- 
nary History of Maryland (4 v.; Chicago and Baltimore, 
1925) which has three volumes of biographies of present day 

The first source to be consulted in undertaking a genealogical 
search in Maryland is Eleanor Phillips Passano, Index of the 
Source Records of Maryland (Baltimore, 1940), a compre- 


hensive bibliography of printed and manuscript materials, 
with location symbols indicating the holdings of the Library 
of Congress, Maryland Historical Society, D. A. R. Library, 
Johns Hopkins University Library and the Library of the 
Diocese of Maryland in Baltimore, now consolidated with the 
Peabody Institute Library. The first 362 pages comprise an 
index of surnames giving the location of material about each 
family. The remaining 115 pages form the bibliography, 
which is broken down by such categories as State Records — 
General (with sub-headings for account books, deeds, land 
records, marriages, maps, rent rolls, wills, etc.), State Records 
— County (listing both original record books and published 
abstracts for each county) , biography, genealogy (collections) , 
magazines and newspapers, fiction, church records (by denom- 
ination, subdivided by county), tombstone inscriptions (by 
county) and war records. 

Two magazines which have published Maryland gene- 
alogical data are the Maryland Historical Magazine (54 vols.; 
Baltimore, 1906-date) and the Maryland Historical and Gene- 
alogical Bulletin (20 vols.; Baltimore, 1930-49). The former 
is a publication of the Maryland Historical Society and has 
contained a wide variety of historical and genealogical 
materials. The present policy of the Society is to exclude gene- 
alogical information from the magazine, but among useful 
series published in the past are "Index to Chancery Deposi- 
tions, 1668-1789" (vol. 22), "Maryland Gleanings in England" 
(vols. 1-5; notes from Prerogative Court of Canterbury 
Wills), "Vestry Proceedings of St. Anne's Parish, Annapolis" 
(vols. 7-10), and "Baltimore County Land Records" (vols. 

The Maryland Historical and Genealogical Bulletin was 
privately published by Robert F. Hayes, Jr. The contents 
were miscellaneous in character, consisting of Bible records, 
militia lists, county marriage records and the like. A most 
useful series was "Baltimore City's Dead Prior to 1806" which 
reprinted gravestone inscriptions from a rare volume, Mem- 
oirs of the Dead & Tomb's Remembrancer (Baltimore, 1806). 

The Archives of Maryland (Baltimore, 1883-date), pub- 


lished by the Maryland Historical Society and now compris- 
ing 68 volumes, consists of several series of colonial and early 
state records including the Proceedings and Acts of the As- 
sembly, 1637-1774 (32 vols.), the Proceedings of the Council, 
1637-1770 (11 vols.), the Journals and Correspondence of the 
Council of Safety, 1775-77, and the State Council, 1777-84 (8 
vols.), the Correspondence of Governor Horatio Sharpe, 1753- 
71 (4 vols.), the Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1637-79 
(9 vols.), and Proceedings of the Court of Chancery, 1669-79 
(1 vol.). There are also three volumes containing Proceed- 
ings of the County Courts of Charles County (1658-74), Kent 
County (1648-76), Somerset County (1665-68) and Talbot 
County (1662-74) and of the Manor Court of St. Clement's 
Manor (1659-72) and one volume of muster rolls and other 
records of service of Maryland troops in the American Revo- 

The three major depositories of records in the state are the 
Maryland Historical Society, 201 West Monument Street, 
Baltimore 1, the Hall of Records, Annapolis, and the Land Of- 
fice, now located in the New State Office Building, Annapolis. 

The Maryland Historical Society is a private organization 
with a library rich in manuscript and printed material. Many 
collections of family papers have been donated to it through 
the years. A history and calendar of one of their most im- 
portant collections, the Calvert Papers, appears in The Cal- 
vert Papers, Number One (Maryland Historical Society, Fund 
Publication, no. 28; Baltimore, 1889). Some holdings of the 
Society will be mentioned hereafter. 

The Maryland Hall of Records at Annapolis is the custodian 
of all state and county records created prior to the ratification 
of the Federal Constitution in 1789, except for several cate- 
gories of records which are in the custody of the Land Office. 
Many later records have also been transferred to the Hall of 
Records by state officials and county clerks and copies of others 
are available there on microfilm. 

The Hall of Records has prepared card indexes for a number 
of the series of records most useful to the genealogist. These 
indexes and those available in original volumes and on micro- 


film are listed in Index Holding s, 1956 (Maryland Hall of 
Records, Bulletin no. 10) with the inclusive dates of each. 

The probate records prior to 1777 were recorded not only in 
the county courts but also in the central Prerogative Court. 
Since the Prerogative Court records have been preserved, the 
Maryland wills, inventories and estate accounts for all 
counties are in existence until 1777, even though the County 
Court House was destroyed by fire, as in the case of Anne 
Arundel (1704), Calvert (1882) and Saint Mary's (1831) 
counties. The volumes are described in Elizabeth Hartsook 
and Gust Skordas* Land Office and Prerogative Court Records 
of Colonial Maryland (Hall of Records Commission, Publica- 
tions, no. 4; Annapolis, 1946). 

James M. Magruder, Index of Maryland Colonial Wills 1 63 U- 
1777 (3 vols.; Annapolis, 1933) lists the name of the testator, 
year made, county, and book and page of all Prerogative 
Court wills. Jane Baldwin Cotton, The Maryland Calendar of 
Wills (8 vols; Baltimore, 1904-28) abstracts each of these 
wills through 1743 and James M. Magruder, Magruder 9 s Mary- 
land Colonial Abstracts (5 vols.; Annapolis, 1934-39) covers 
the years 1772-77. 

The original wills and other estate papers from several 
counties have been preserved and can be located through the 
card index at the Hall of Records. 

Maryland colonial inventories are unique in that they were 
signed by the two nearest of kin and two greatest creditors. 
The relatives frequently were brothers or brothers-in-law, 
rather than children, and it is sometimes possible to establish 
family connections through these signatures when other 
records fail to identify the family of the deceased. 

The consolidated card index of wills, inventories, accounts, 
testamentary papers, balance books and other records contains 
entries only for the name of the deceased, except in the case of 
accounts when the executor or administrator is also indexed. 
The Testamentary Proceedings (minutes of the actions of the 
Prerogative Court) have been fully indexed on cards at the 
Hall of Records. 

There is a series of seven volumes, 1751-77, containing 


Balances of Final Distribution of Estates. In many in- 
stances, all of the heirs are named, although other entries 
state only that the heirs were unknown to the Proprietary 

The wills of most counties are available at the Hall of 
Records on microfilm until well into the 20th century. The ter- 
minal dates for microfilm copies of inventories, accounts, 
bonds, guardians' records, and sales of estates vary widely and 
some series of records have not yet been microfilmed. It 
would be well for the searcher to determine the holdings of 
the Hall of Records before visiting the county Court House, 
however, since the microfilming of the Maryland records is a 
continuing project. 

The Maryland Land Office, which has created as a separate 
entity in 1680, has custody of land patents, surveys and grants, 
the Proprietary rent rolls, chancery papers and some other 
court records. The Land Office holdings are described in 
Hartsook and Skordas, op. cit. 

Under the first Conditions of Plantation issued by Lord 
Baltimore land was granted for the transportation of settlers 
to the province. After 1683, however, title to land could 
be secured only on a cash purchase basis. The early books, 
which name the persons for whose transportation land was 
claimed, form a valuable census of Maryland immigrants. 
Some of these names are printed in the Maryland Historical 
and Genealogical Bulletin, passim. 

An index of all persons to whom patents were issued or 
grants made has been prepared at the Land Office. Another 
index lists the tracts in each county by name and refers to the 
patent, survey or grant. The tract names are most helpful 
to the genealogist in tracing descent of land since they are not 
duplicated, although there may have been slight variations 
made upon a name when additional land was patented and 
there are frequent instances of such entries as "Addition to 
Whitley's Choice" and "Resurvey on Addition to Marsh Head." 

Transfers of land subsequent to the original grant are con- 
tained in the county deed books which are available in the 
original volumes or on microfilm at the Hall of Records to 


1850, and in some instances as late as the 20th century. Con- 
veyances which were recorded in the Provincial Court (1637- 
1776) and the General Court of the Western Shore (1778- 
1805) are at the Land Office, however. 

Since Maryland was governed by a Proprietor, to whom 
land rent was due, during most of the colonial period, the Rent 
Rolls and Debt Books serve to identify all land holders. These 
two are complementary series, the former listing the holdings 
in each county by name of tract (designating the acreage held 
by each person), while the latter are arranged by name of 
individual (designating the acreage and names of the tracts 
held by him) . 

Since they concerned rent due the Proprietor, the Rent 
Rolls were private papers rather than government documents. 
Many of the earlier books are missing and none until 1734 is 
preserved at the Land Office. A considerable number are in 
private collections, however, particularly in the Calvert Papers 
at the Maryland Historical Society. These are described in 
Maryland Historical Magazine, vol. 19, pp. 341-43, and several 
of the rolls are printed in vols. 19-26. The earliest roll in the 
Calvert Papers is that for St. Mary's, Calvert, Charles and 
Kent counties to 1659 and a photocopy is also available at the 
Land Office. After 1734, the Land Office has a continuous 
yearly series for the several Eastern Shore counties and a 
similar series (not yearly) for the counties on the Western 

The Debt Books at the Land Office begin in 1733 for the 
Eastern Shore and 1753 for the Western Shore. Almost one- 
third of the books are missing, mostly of Eastern Shore 
counties. Only St. Mary's and Charles counties are complete. 
The Maryland Historical Society has a 1750 Debt Book for 
five Western Shore counties among the Calvert Papers. 

Harry Wright Newman's Seigniory in Early Maryland 
(Washington, 1949), published by the Descendants of Lords 
of the Maryland Manors, contains a brief description of the 
manorial system in Maryland and lists of the manors and 
manor Lords. 

Birth and death records were not kept throughout the state 


until 1898. The Hall of Records has prepared a card index 
of the earlier births and deaths which have been preserved in 
county records. These consist of births 1804-77 and deaths 
1865-80 of Anne Arundel County and some 17th century en- 
tries for Charles, Kent, Somerset and Talbot counties. 

The extant registers of various churches are listed in detail 
in Passano, op. cit., pp. 401-36, with indication of the location 
of the original records and of copies. Those records of the 
Episcopal Church which were described by Passano as being 
at the National Cathedral have since been transferred to the 
Hall of Records. 

Marriages from the period of the American Revolution to 
the present for many of the counties are extant. The Hall of 
Records has a consolidated card index of some early colonial 
marriages from Charles, Kent and Somerset counties, of mar- 
riages from Anne Arundel, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester and 
Prince George's counties from about 1777 to the mid-1800's, 
and of Frederick County from 1778 to 1798. There is a 
separate card index of Baltimore County marriages for 1777- 

Marriage and death notices from the Maryland Gazette, 
printed at Annapolis 1727-34, 1745-1821, have been published 
in the Maryland Historical Magazine, vols. 17-18, 42. 1 

Records of suits which were brought before the state Chan- 
cery Court are preserved at the Land Office. A card index has 
been prepared naming the plaintiffs and defendants. The 
early proceedings of the Provincial Court and Court of Chan- 
cery are a part of the Court Records series of the Archives of 

In 1776 and again in 1778, a census was taken in Mary- 
land. The first was in pursuance to a resolution of the Con- 
tinental Congress for ascertaining the population of the 
United Colonies and the second was to determine the free 
white males over 18, who had failed to take the oath of fidelity. 

1 An unexpected source of information concerning marriages of one 
Maryland county is the New England Historical and Genealogical Regis- 
ter, vol. 73 (1919), pp. 134-154, 217-232, 261-279, "Marriage Licenses in 
Prince George's County, Maryland, 1777-1824." 


The extant lists cover only a small portion of the state. They 
have been indexed on cards at the Hall of Records and the 
lists for Prince George's, Frederick, Charles, Anne Arundel, 
Caroline, Dorchester, Harford, Queen Anne's and Talbot 
counties are published in G. M. Brumbaugh, Maryland 
Records, Colonial, Revolutionary, County and Church (2 vols. ; 
Baltimore, 1915-28) . The 1790 Federal census was published 
as a part of the series, Heads of Families at the First Census 
(Washington, 1907). Subsequent censuses are available at 
The National Archives and those from 1830 to 1880 can be 
purchased on microfilm. The 1830 census of Montgomery, 
Prince George's, Queen Anne's, Saint Mary's and Somerset 
counties is missing. 

The Hall of Records has a small collection of muster and pay 
rolls for the colonial wars, 1732-72, for which a card index 
has been prepared. Revolutionary records were published 
in the Archives of Maryland, vol. 18, and other material is 
available at the Hall of Records in two series, Revolutionary 
Records and Revolutionary Papers, both of which are indexed 
on cards. 

The oaths of fidelity taken in 1778 are available for most 
counties and a card index has been prepared at the Hall of 
Records for all preserved there. A number of the oath lists 
are printed in Brumbaugh, op. cit. vol. 2, in Margaret R. 
Hodges, "Unpublished Revolutionary Records of Maryland" (7 
vols.; typewritten; n. p., 1939), in Brumbaugh and Hodges, 
Revolutionary Records of Maryland (Washington, 1924), and 
in The National Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. 41. 

Federal pensioners and recipients of bounty land are named 
in Harry Wright Newman, Maryland Revolutionary Records 
(Washington, 1938), which also contains a list of soldiers 
mentioned in applications for pensions at The National Ar- 
chives. No record of service is shown, however, the com- 
piler merely stating that the information can be supplied for a 
fee. A valuable section of the book gives marriages proved 
through statements in the pension applications. 

The Publications of the Hall of Records Commission contain 


a sub-series, Calendar of Maryland State Papers. The vol- 
umes printed thus far cover The Black Books (Proprietary 
and royal papers, 1636-1785), The Bank Stock Papers (Mary- 
land stock in the Bank of England), The Brown Books (gov- 
ernment and military communications, 1747-1803), the Red 
Books (3 vols., state papers, 1773-1825) and Executive Miscel- 
lanea (1684-1821, but with two-thirds of the material in the 
period 1775-78). 

A new genealogical publication, The Maryland-Delaware 
Genealogist (vol. 1, 1959/60), edited by Raymond B. Clark, 
Jr., promises to make available in print many more of the un- 
published records of Maryland. 


Assuming that a researcher wishes to trace a Virginia 
family to the immigrant ancestor, the following suggestions 
are offered. 

The first step would be to learn if anything had been pub- 
lished on the family and for that one would consult the Vir- 
ginia Historical Index, 2 volumes, compiled in 1934 and 1936 
by Dr. E. G. Swem. This is the master index for: Lower 
Norfolk County Antiquary, vols. I-V, 1895-1906; Tyler's 
Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, vols. I-X, 
1919-1929; Virginia Historical Register and Literary Ad- 
vertiser, vols. I-VI, 1848-1853; The Virginia Magazine of His- 
tory and Biography, vols. I-XXXVIII, 1893-1930 ; William and 
Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, First series, 
vols. I-XXVII, 1892-1919 ; William and Mary College Quarterly 
Historical Magazine, Second series, vols. I-X, 1921-1930; 
Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts, 
1652-1869, 11 vols., Richmond 1875-1930; The Statutes at 
Large, Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, 13 vols., 
Richmond, 1809-1823 ; William Waller Hening, compiler. In- 
dexes of volumes of the magazines subsequent to 1930 must 
be consulted. 

Tyler's Quarterly has not been published since 1952 and 
The William and Mary Quarterly, Third series, since 1944 has 
not published genealogical material. A new magazine, The 
Virginia Genealogist, begun in 1957, has taken their place in 
the genealogical field. Index to Virginia Genealogies, R. .A. 
Stewart, 1930, is often helpful, too. 

Another "must" in research is Clayton Torrence's Virginia 
Wills and Administrations 1632-1800; an Index (1930). This 
includes wills and administrations in those counties formed 
before 1800 which are now in West Virginia. 

* Since Mrs. Hiden's death, this chapter has been brought up-to-date by 
John Frederick Dorman. ED. 


Do not overlook Adventurers of Purse and Person, Vir- 
ginia, 1607-1625, compiled and edited by Annie Lash Jester, 
in collaboration with Martha Woodroof Hiden and sponsored 
by the Order of First Families of Virginia (1956). This 
contains a complete transcription of the Muster of the In- 
habitants of Virginia of January and February 1624/25 and 
accounts through four generations of the families of Virginia 
immigrants and members of the Virginia Company of London 
whose present-day descendants have been traced. John C. 
Hotten's Original Lists of Persons of Quality Who Went From 
Great Britain to the American Plantations, London (1874, re- 
print New York 1931) gives ship lists and also includes lists 
of the living and of the dead on the plantations in Virginia 
after the massacre of March 1622/23. 

Mention should also be made of Virginia Genealogies by the 
Rev. H. E. Hayden (1891, reprint 1931). Mr. Hayden col- 
lected a great number of Bible and family records not found 
elsewhere. Old Churches and Families of Virginia, Rt. Rev. 
William Meade (2 vols., 1857), Index, J. C. Wise (1910), con- 
tains information about numerous families, but is not to' be 
accepted unless corroborated elsewhere. Encyclopedia of 
Virginia Biography , under the editorial supervision of Lyon 
Gardiner Tyler, LL.D. (5 vols., 1915), often provides a good 
start for research. 

The following books are noted with the localities to which 
they refer, since the titles afford no clue to the contents. The 
Cabells and their Kin (1895), by Alexander Brown, author of 
The Genesis of the United States, deals with families of Am- 
herst, Nelson, Buckingham and adjacent counties. Our Kin 
(1930), by Mary D. Ackerly and Lula E. J. Parker, is con- 
cerned with Bedford and Campbell County people. Over the 
Mountain Men (1933), Anne Lowry Worrell, contains ab- 
stracts of county court records from Bedford, Botetourt, Car- 
roll, Floyd, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski and Roanoke 
counties. Virginia Frontier (1938), F. B. Kegley, Annals of 
Southivest Virginia (1929), L. P. Summers, and History of 
Southwest Virginia (1903), also by Summers, have abstracts 
of numerous Botetourt and Washington County court records, 


biographies of citizens of the latter county, and an account of 
the development of the region. The Edivard Pleasants Valen- 
tine Papers (4 vols., 1927), are abstracts of county court 
records, covering a wide range in time and space relative to 
some 33 families connected with the Valentines, and are in- 
valuable. Notes on Sunnyside Virginia, by Walter A. Watson 
(Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, vol. XV, Nos. 2-4, 
Sept., 1925) has extracts from Amelia and Nottoway County 
court records as well as biographical sketches of some of the 
residents of these counties. The Douglas Register, edited 1928 
by W. Mac Jones, is the record kept from 1750 to 1797 by the 
Rev. William Douglas, rector of Saint James Northam Parish, 
of births, deaths and marriages occurring in the counties of 
Spotsylvania, Orange, Goochland, Louisa and Fluvanna. The 
County Court Note Book, edited by the late Mrs. Milnor 
Ljungstedt (vols. I-X 1921-1931), consists of items from court 
records in Virginia as well as in other states. Virginia 
Colonial Abstracts (34 vols), are abstracts by Mr. Beverley 
Fleet from county court records of the following counties: 
Accomack, Charles City, Essex, Henrico, King and Queen, 
Lancaster, Lower Norfolk, Northumberland, Richmond, Wash- 
ington, Westmoreland and York. Volume XXX of the series 
is a list of Virginia source material (1607-1850) in the Hunt- 
ington Library, San Marino, Calif. This series is being con- 
tinued by the Rev. Lindsay 0. Duvall who has published four 
volumes relating to Lancaster, Northumberland, and James 
City Counties and to the members of the Virginia Company 
of London. An Index to the Source Records of Maryland, 
compiled by Mrs. Eleanor Phillips Passano (Baltimore 1940), 
lists on p. 474 many Virginia books helpful to researchers. 
Massanutten, Page County, Virginia (1924) by H. M. Strick- 
ler, contains early records of Mill Creek Church beginning in 
1809 when Page was the southern part of Shenandoah County. 

Mrs. H. A. Knorr has published the early marriages of 
eleven counties (Brunswick, Charlotte, Chesterfield, Culpeper, 
Greensville, Halifax, Pittsylvania, Powhatan, Prince Edward, 
Southampton and Sussex) and the city of Fredericksburg. 

Data are often found in the report of cases determined in the 


General Court of Virginia, and in the Supreme Court of Ap- 
peals of Virginia. The earliest of these are Virginia Colonial 
Decisions, the reports of Sir John Randolph and Edward Bar- 
radall of decisions of the General Court of Virginia, 1728-1741, 
edited with historical introduction by Robt. T. Barton (2 vols., 
1909). Later reports in several series compiled by Thomas 
Jefferson, Peyton Randolph, William Waller Hening, William 
Munford and others cover later 18th century and much of 
the 19th. They are listed in detail in Bulletin of Virginia 
State Library, vol. X (1917). In 1792, as a step between 
county courts and the Supreme Court, the state was divided 
into eighteen districts with semi-annual courts at a central 
point in the district. These were abolished in 1809 and our 
present system of circuit courts substituted. 

Records of the District Court at Staunton have been in- 
cluded in the Records of Augusta County, Virginia, 174-5-1800 
(3 vols.), abstracted by Judge Lyman Chalkley and published 
1912. Abstracts of the wills filed with the chancery suit 
papers in the district of which Williamsburg was the center 
were published 1906 by the Genealogical Association, W. A. 
Crozier, editor, as vol. Ill, Williamsburg Wills. 

Abstracts of some of the papers in suits in the Fredericks- 
burg District have been published by George H. S. King under 
the caption "Copies of Extant Wills from Counties Whose 
Records have been Destroyed", in Tyler's Quarterly Historical 
and Genealogical Magazine, The Virginia Magazine of History 
and Biography and The Virginia Genealogist. Little has been 
published from any other districts and many of the papers 
have been destroyed. 

Published official records of importance are: Journals of 
the House of Burgesses, 1619-1776 (13 vols., Richmond 1905- 
1915) ; Legislative Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia 
1680-1770 (3 vols., Richmond 1918-1919) ; Minutes of the 
Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia, 1622-1632, 
1670-1676 (1 vol., Richmond 1924) ; Executive Journals of the 
Council of Colonial Virginia, 1680-17 5 U (5 vols., Richmond 
1925-1945) ; Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia 
1776-1781 (2 vols., Richmond 1931) ; Official Letters of the 


Governors of Virginia; vol. I, Letters of Patrick Henry, 1 
July 1776 — 1 June 1779; vol. II; Letters of Thomas Jefferson, 
1 June 1779 — 3 June 1781; vol. Ill; Letters of Thomas Nelson 
and Benjamin Harrison, 7 June 1781-27 February 1783 (1926, 
1928, 1929). 

After this general discussion of books helpful to a genealo- 
gist, we come to two questions which the researcher must 
answer, the "when?" and the "where?". To learn when a 
certain man lived is more difficult in Virginia than to learn 
where he lived, for vital statistics do not begin until 1853. 
They are missing for some periods and incomplete until 1912, 
when the present system of recordation was established. Un- 
published, they were housed in the Bureau of Vital Statistics 
in Richmond. As some compensation for the lack of early 
vital records, the Archives Division of the Virginia State 
Library has for the Colonial period parish registers and vestry 
books of the Church of England, which was the Established 
Church of Virginia. Some of the books have been published 
and their publication will be continued. The extant Church 
of England books are but a remnant of those once in existence, 
for the disrepute into which the Episcopal church fell after 
the Revolution, together with the loss of its glebes and church 
buildings, did not encourage preservation of its records. Also 
in the Archives Division are records of churches of other 
denominations containing lists of births and marriages. Vir- 
ginia Quaker records were published in 1950 as Vol. VI of the 
series Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Type- 
scripts of some Virginia Quaker records are in the Valentine 
Museum, Richmond, and originals are in the Quaker libraries 
in Baltimore, that of Stony Run Meeting House being located 
at 5116 North Charles St., and of Homewood Meeting House 
at 3107 North Charles St. The Archives Division has type- 
scripts of Obituaries and Marriages compiled from files of 
The Religious Herald (Baptist) 1828-1930, indexed and bound, 
also Marriages compiled from files of The Southern Church- 
man (Episcopal) 1835-1930. There are microfilms of the Cen- 
sus of 1830, 1850 and 1870 for Virginia in the Archives Divi- 
sion. The State Library published as Bulletin of the Virginia 


State Library, vol. XIV No. 4, Oct. 1921 an Index to Obituary 
Notices in the Richmond Enquirer from May 9, 180 % through 
1828 and the Richmond Whig from January 182U through 

The foregoing material should assist in finding the time in 
which the ancestor lived; to find where he lived is the next 

Naturally, the first grants of land were made by the Vir- 
ginia Company of London, chartered 1606, under whose rule 
the Colony was from 1607 until 1624 when the King dissolved 
the Company and assumed control. For background history, 
the Records of the Virginia Company, edited by Myra S. 
Kingsbury, published by the Library of Congress, vols. I and 
II, 1906; vol. Ill, 1933; vol. IV, 1935, are, of course, indis- 
pensable. The Land Patent Books available in the Archives 
Division of the Virginia State Library begin in 1623 and are 
invaluable. Abstracts of the patents for 1623-1666 were 
published in 1934 by Mrs. Nell M. Nugent of Virginia Land 
Office under the title, Cavaliers and Pioneers, vol. I. 

Since Virginia was a Crown Colony, land owners paid a 
yearly rent per acre to the King and these lists arranged by 
counties with name and acreage of every land owner were 
sent to England annually. This did not apply to the land 
lying between the Potomac and the Rappahannock Rivers, 
known as the Northern Neck, which was a proprietary. 

Of the rent rolls sent to England, only one complete list, that 
of 1704, has been found in the Public Records Office, London. 
Published in 1922 by Dr. Thomas J. Wertenbaker as an ap- 
pendix to his book, Planters of Colonial Virginia, and more 
recently in Louis des Cognets' English Duplicates of Lost Vir- 
ginia Records (1958), photostatic copy of this roll is in the 
library of the Virginia Historical Society. Scattered and in- 
complete rent rolls for various counties and lists of tithables 
from some counties are in the Archives Division. These help 
bridge the gap between the 1704 Quit Rent Roll and 1782, the 
year in which the real and personal tax books were set up for 
all the counties by the Commonwealth of Virginia. These 
books are also in the Archives Division. Heads of Families 


at the First Census . . . State Enumerations: 1782 to 1785, 
Virginia, published by the Census Bureau in 1908, and 
Virginia Tax Payers, 1782-87, compiled by Augusta B. Fother- 
gill and John Mark Naugle, 1940, contain names from the tax 
records of all counties in the state. 

The county is the unit of government in Virginia. Extant 
city records begin around the last quarter of the 18th century ; 
the larger amount of research, therefore, must be done in 
county records housed in their respective county seats. 

Through the generosity of The Genealogical Society in Salt 
Lake City, court record books from all the Virginia counties 
up to 1865 have been microfilmed, and a copy placed in the 
Archives Division of the Virginia State Library. The Library 
also has over one thousand photoduplicate volumes of records 
from sixty-five counties. Anyone planning research in Vir- 
ginia would do well to learn first what is available in Rich- 
mond in the State Library and in the library of the Virginia 
Historical Society. If no solution of the problem is found, cer- 
tainly future procedure is made clearer without loss of time. 

County development is shown in the Bulletin of the Virginia 
State Library, vol. IX (1916), Virginia Counties by Morgan P. 
Robinson. This notes date of formation and bounds of every 
county, its parent county or counties, and any changes oc- 
curring in its boundaries. However, the most complete ac- 
count of the formation and changes of the counties is in How 
Justice Grew, by Martha W. Hiden (1957), which describes 
in detail the successive boundaries of the counties, and in- 
cludes a map of Virginia as of 1671, and charts indicating the 
gradual dividing of counties that took place. For information 
on sources by counties, the searcher is referred to "Guide to 
the Counties of Virginia", a listing of manuscript and printed 
materials relating to each county, which is being published 
serially in The Virginia Genealogist. 

Records of civil service are found in Colonial Virginia Reg- 
ister, (1903), by W. G. and M. N. Stanard, in Journals of the 
House of Burgesses and Hening's Statutes at Large for Vir- 
ginia, both mentioned previously, in Justices of the Peace of 
Colonial Virginia, 1757-1775, issued as Bulletin of the Vir- 


ginia State Library, vol. XIV, Nos. 2, 3 (1921) , in county court 
order books, in A Register of the General Assembly of Vir- 
ginia, E. G. Swem and John W. Williams (1918), and Bibliog- 
raphy of Virginia, parts 1 and 2 (1916, 1918), Indexes, E. G. 
Swem. Military service is of record in Gleanings of Virginia 
History, (1903), by W. F. Boogher, Virginia Colonial Militia 
(1905) by W. A. Crozier, List of Colonial Soldiers of Virginia 
(Special Report of Department of Archives and History, for 
1913) Richmond (1917), and in county court order books. 
Legislative petitions in the Archives Division, although dated 
much later, were sometimes put in to obtain the bounty land 
authorized, 1763, for services in the French and Indian Wars 
of the preceding decade. 

Revolutionary service is found in county court order books 
in List of Revolutionary Soldiers of Virginia (2 vols.; Special 
Report of the Department of Archives and History, 1911-12), 
compiled by H. J. Eckenrode, in John H. Gwathmey's Histori- 
cal Register of Virginians in the Revolution (1938), in John 
Frederick Dorman's Virginia Revolutionary Pension Appli- 
cations (a continuing series begun in 1958), in G. M. Brum- 
baugh's Revolutionary War Records: Virginia, in the Special 
Virginia Edition (1884) of Hardesty's Historical and Geo- 
graphical Encyclopedia, in the unpublished service claims 
from the counties and in individual legislative petitions in the 
Archives Division. Mrs. Passano's Index to the Source 
Records of Maryland, previously mentioned, has on page 460 
an excellent list of books on the Revolution of Virginia. Old 
Kentucky Entries and Deeds, W. R. Jillson (1926), and Brum- 
baugh's Revolutionary War Records, mentioned above, give 
military warrants and entries for Virginia Revolutionary 

The State Library published in 1851 Pay Rolls of Militia 
Entitled to Land Bounty under the Act of Congress of Sep- 
tember 28, 1850, and in 1852 Muster Rolls of the Virginia Mili- 
tia in the War of 1812, being a supplement to the Pay Rolls. 
There are other unpublished records of this war in the Ar- 
chives Division but the records in the National Archives in 
Washington are more complete than those in Virginia. 


The Confederate records of the Civil War in the Archives 
Division are extensive and excellent. The National Archives, 
Washington, also has these records. 

Besides the collections of the State Library and the Vir- 
ginia Historical Society, the Alderman Library of the Univer- 
sity of Virginia has extensive collections of family papers, 
newspapers and business ledgers. The Library of the College 
of William and Mary also has a large amount of valuable 
manuscript material, family papers and records. There are 
several county historical societies of more or less vitality ; two 
of them, Albemarle and Clark, issue publications from time to 

There is no published collection of tombstone and cemetery 
inscriptions for the state. Probably the library of the 
National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, has 
the largest collection of Virginia inscriptions that has been 

The Virginia State Library has for years been photodupli- 
cating Bible records and now has in the Archives Division 
a large collection of these available to researchers. 



In both of these states it is essential that the researcher 
have adequate knowledge of the formation and prolifieration 
of the counties, in order to determine where to search. 
Sources of such information will be mentioned in the discus- 
sion of records of each state. 

In both states, also, it is especially important to study (1) 
the settlement pattern of the various areas, and (2) the lines 
of migration into and out of the state. For the first, general 
state, county and local histories, selected from bibliographies 
mentioned below, will be helpful. For the second, the best 
account at present (1959) is Lewis' Emigrant Trails East of 
the Mississippi. 1 This work is in process of revision by Her- 
man R. Friis, and when the new edition, with a new map, ap- 
pears it should be substituted as a reference. 


In North Carolina, vital records as such were not kept. 

The county is the governmental unit and, except for recent 
city records, the public records most useful to the genealogist 
are those of the county. 

Church records are scarce. The established churches were 
few and only in rare instances have their colonial records sur- 

For specific dates of births and deaths, one is dependent on 
private sources, such as tombstone and Bible records. 

To do any research, a clear picture of the formation of 
counties is essential. For this purpose, use Corbitt's Forma- 
tion of North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943* 

1 Marcus W. Lewis; The Development of Early Emigrwit Trails East of 
the Mississippi River, Genealogical Publication No. 3 of the National 
Genealogical Society. (1933) 

2 David L. Cbrbitt; Formation of North Carolina Counties, 16 68-1 9 AS. 


Settlement began along the Coast in the last quarter of the 
17th century. Some of the records of these settlers are to be 
found in the record of contiguous Virginia counties. By 1700 
there were four counties, by 1740 these had been extended and 
divided into thirteen, by 1760 to twenty-five, and so on. The 
maps in the back of the book show the counties in successive 
periods. It is not uncommon that in order to secure records 
of a single generation that never moved, one must examine 
records of as many as seven counties. 


Following the primary rule, to begin with the most recent 
generation for which there is adequate proof and trace back- 
ward, documenting each step, unless generations back to 1800 
are supported by Bible or tombstone records or other sources 
of definite dates, it is well to check the Federal Census for the 
county in which the family was resident at each census period 
from 1880 back to 1790. 

The 1790 Census is printed and indexed. 3 However, Cas- 
well, Granville and Orange Counties are missing. The 1800 
census is complete. Of the 1810, four and of the 1820 five of 
the most important counties are missing. The 1850 and 1880 
are particularly important. Census schedules from 1800 to 
1880 inclusive are not printed or indexed. The originals 
of all the census schedules from the beginning to 1870 and 
microfilms of the 1880 are in the National Archives. Micro- 
film copies of the 1850 to 1880 schedules inclusive are available 
at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History in 
Raleigh, the Daughters of the American Revolution Library 
in Washington, the Utah Genealogical Society Library in Salt 
Lake City, and probably in other libraries. Microfilm of the 
1830 to 1880 schedules may be purchased from the National 
Archives at varying prices.* 

8 U. S. Bureau of the Census; Heads of Families at the First Census of 
the United States taken in the year 1790 . . North Carolina. 
4 Write the National Archives (Washington 25, D. C.) for List of 
National Archives Microfilm Publications (195%) and Federal Population 
Censuses 18U0-80 (furnished gratis on request) for counties covered by 
each reel and prices. 



To begin research one needs to know (1) what records were 
originally created; (2) what records are still in existence, and 
where; (3) what records have been printed; (4) what gene- 
alogies or biographies on the family or members of it have 
been published; and (5) what county, local, or general his- 
tories have been published that may cover the area of interest. 

From the standpoint of the genealogist, the best bibliog- 
raphy available at present is North Carolina Genealogical 
Reference. 6 While there are errors in titles and proper 
names, and the arrangement is poor, it nevertheless lists 
most of the material in print and is a good guide to publi- 
cations on the local level or by families. (It must be remem- 
bered, however, that "recollections", general county histories, 
and all too many genealogies (especially those written prior to 
the last quarter of a century) must be used with caution.) 
This volume, in addition to listing many printed sources, lists 
the most important manuscript collections in the North Caro- 
lina State Library, the North Carolina Department of Ar- 
chives and History, the University of North Carolina Library 
and other depositories. 

The information on county records and church records is too 
abbreviated to be of much value but even so the book is a good 
guide for beginners and a convenient reference for the more 
experienced genealogist. 

For publications not strictly genealogical but which may 
supply clues on activities of individuals or as to location of 
collections of papers which may contain desired records, there 
are two comprehensive reference works: A Bibliography of 
North Carolina, 1589-1956* and Official Publications of the 
Colony and State of North Carolina, 17 U9 -19 39 : 

5 W. R. Draugnon; North Carolina Genealogical Reference; a Research 
Guide. (1956) 

e Mary Lindsay Thornton; A Bibliography of North Carolina, 1589-1956. 
(University of North Carolina Press, 1958.) 

7 Mary Lindsay Thornton; Official Publications of the Colony and State 
of North Carolina, 1749-1939. (1954) 


County Records 

After the preliminary background reading, and checking of 
census records, research begins. It is always best, when 
feasible, to work first in the original source material, or 
abstracts therefrom, i. e., county, state, and federal records. 

While the above mentioned bibliography gives some in- 
formation about county records, it is far from complete. To 
determine records still in existence consult The Historical 
Records of North Carolina, 8 which lists such records in great 
detail. Since 1938, many of the older records indicated in these 
volumes as located in the county of origin have been transfer- 
red to the North Carolina Department of Archives and History 
in Raleigh. Such transfers are usually listed in the annual 
reports of that Department, which should be consulted. In 
the case of a specific record in which the researcher is in- 
terested, inquiry may be made by letter to the Department. 
Of course, additional records have been discovered since the 
survey was made, particularly of "loose papers". Those which 
have been transferred to the Department of Archives and 
History are listed in the annual reports. These papers or 
records are so few, however, that the possibility can be ignored 
until comprehensive search has been made through the listed 
official records. 

The volumes just mentioned list the records in existence. 
To see the original books of record one must go to Raleigh or 
the county concerned. So it is of primary importance to know 
whether any of these records have been printed, either in full 
or in abstract form. 

The usual sequence of examination is: Wills, administra- 
tions, settlement of estates, marriage records, deeds, land 
causes and surveys, court records of various types, and mis- 
cellaneous records and papers. 

With respect to wills, the situation at first glance seems to 
be good. Grimes' North Carolina Wills 9 , and North Carolina 

8 The North Carolina Historical Commission. The Historical Records of 
North Carolina. (1938-39) 3 v. 

e J. Bryan Grimes; Abstract of North Carolina Wills. (1910) 


Wills and Inventories 10 contain abstracts of the majority of 
the wills prior to 1760 and are well indexed. Olds' North 
Carolina Wills, 1760-1800 n gives brief abstracts; the volume 
is arranged by counties, but is not indexed. Wills of the 
earliest eastern counties are to be found in the North Carolina 
Historical and Genealogical Register" generally known as 
"Hathaway". This is not indexed, but a partial index was 
issued by Worth S. Ray in 1945. 18 The D. A. R. Library has 
a typescript index. 

However, none of these compilations of abstracts is wholly 
satisfactory. Grimes so abbreviated his notes, to lessen the 
bulk of the book, that there are important omissions; also, 
some wills found in the counties were not included and others 
have been discovered since publication. Olds' is full of errors 
and omissions. Much of it was based on notes made for 
Colonel Olds by the county clerks who hastily went through 
their will books, jotting down pertinent facts. Hathaway is 
probably more accurate than either of the others. But the 
fact remains that none of them can be considered as com- 
plete, either in the list of testators or the abstracts. However, 
if a will seems to pertain to the family or field of interest, a 
photostat of the original record can be readily secured from 
the Department of Archives and History or the county, as the 
case may be. 

In addition to these general works, there have been pub- 
lished abstracts of wills of specific counties, many of which 
are listed in the bibliography mentioned above. 

Much valuable information is to be found in the county court 
minutes. Until recent years it has been necessary to consult 
the original records in Raleigh or the county seat, but ab- 

10 J. Bryan Grimes; North Carolina Wills and Inventories. (1912) 

n Fred A. Olds; An Abstract of North Carolina Wills from about 1760 
to about 1800. (1925) 

12 J. R. B. Hathaway, ed.; North Carolina Historical and Genealogical 
Register, 3 v. (1900-3) 

13 Worth S. Ray ; Index and Digest to Hathawatfs North Carolina His- 
torical and Genealogical Register. (1945) 


stracts of some are now being published, such as that of New 

As for marriage records : The original marriage bonds that 
have survived the vicissitudes of time are in the North Caro- 
lina Department of Archives and History in Raleigh. Nearly 
all, if not all, of the marriage records of various types which 
are still in existence have been copied by The Genealogical 
Society at Salt Lake City. Typed copies, indexed, are in the 
Library of that Society, the North Carolina Department of Ar- 
chives and History and the D. A. R. Library in Washington. 
In most instances they cover the period from 1750 or from the 
Revolution down to 1850. Marriage records of some counties 
have been privately copied and in some instances published. 
Most of these are listed in the bibliography referred to above. 

It must be remembered that these records do not cover all 
marriages. No record was made of many marriages by dis- 
senting ministers in colonial days, by traveling ministers 
thereafter, by justices of the peace, or some other civil officers, 
and even where record was made, many such records have dis- 
appeared. Frequently the date of a marriage cannot be as- 
certained, but the fact of the marriage can be proved from a 
marriage settlement or the gift of a father or brother to the 
bride of a slave or land, that is, by documents found recorded 
in deed books or the miscellaneous records of a county. 

Even when the originals of other county records are still in 
the court house concerned, microfilms of many (although not 
of all) of the county records are in the North Carolina De- 
partment of Archives and History at Raleigh. The D. A. R. 
Library in Washington has microfilms of Bladen, Sampson 
and other counties and is steadily expanding the collection. 

State Records 

The Colonial and State Records of North Carolina (happily 
with a consolidated index) contain much information for the 
genealogist and should always be consulted. 

14 Alexander McDonald Walker; New Hanover County Court Minutes, 


Land grants, other than those mentioned incidentally for 
one reason or another in the Colonial and State Records, have 
not been published. Originals are available for reference in 

Church Records 

The most complete printed church record is that of the 
Society of Friends (Quakers), in Hinshaw's Quaker Records." 
Adelaide Fries' work on the Moravians 19 has much data on 
members of that church. 

The Archives of the Presbyterian Church South at Mon- 
treat, N. C, contain much information which would be helpful 
in tracing Scotch-Irish and other Presbyterian families. 
There are few church records of births, deaths and marriages 
as such, but notes of marriages and burials occur in diaries 
and day books kept by ministers, if one has the time and 
patience to go through them. The session records, when pre- 
served, often contain dismissal to other churches, and hence 
furnish evidence of migration and identity. 


The only state-wide genealogical periodical on North Caro- 
lina being issued now is The North Carolinian, 17 sl quarterly 
which began publication in 1955. 

From time to time, North Carolina genealogical source 
material has appeared in the National Genealogical Society 
Quarterly, North Carolina Historical Review, and the D. A.R. 
Magazine. These articles may be located by using the indexes 
of the respective publications or the Index to Writings on 
American History.™ 

35 Wm. Wade Hinshaw; Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, 
vol. 1 (North Carolina). 

"Adelaide L. Fries; Moravians in North Carolina (1752-1837). (1922- 

17 The North Carolinian; A Quarterly Journal of Genealogy and History. 
Wm. Perry Johnson and Russell E. Bidlack, eds. 1955-. 

18 American Historical Association ; Index to Writings on American 
History, 1902-1940. (1956) 



In South Carolina, vital records as such were not kept. 
Aside from church records (to be discussed later), specific 
dates of births and deaths must be secured from Bibles and 
tombstones, except in the rare cases where a death date is 
mentioned in some court record or in a newspaper notice. 

A brief account of the principal sources of information, 
both printed and unpublished, is given in "Genealogical Source 
Material in South Carolina", by Roberta P. Wakefield, in the 
National Genealogical Society Quarterly, September 1952. 

Evolution of Counties 

The county is now the governmental unit, but it was not al- 
ways so. In the beginning there was a centralized govern- 
ment and so a central record office in Charleston. When the 
counties were formed, the subsequent changes were not, as in 
North Carolina, a simple matter of expansion and division. 
Fortunately, there are two concise but fairly complete ac- 
counts of the evolution of and complex structure leading to the 
formation of the present counties, "Evolution of South Caro- 
line Counties/" 9 by Roberta P. Wakefield, and South Carolina 
Counties, Districts, Parishes and Townships, by Janie Revill. 
There are slight differences in these, due to different interpre- 
tation of the records, but the basic information for the re- 
searcher is clearly set forth. 

A brief summary will here be helpful. Settlement began at 
Charleston about 1672. All records were kept or filed there. 
Soon after, the Province was divided into four counties : Cra- 
ven, between the Pee Dee and the Santee Rivers; Berkeley, 
from the Santee to the Ashley; Colleton, from the Ashley to 
the Combahee; and Granville, from the Combahee to the 
Savannah. Craven and Berkeley extended north to the North 
Carolina line, and Colleton and Granville north to the Indian 
lands. In 1706, they were divided into ten parishes for the 
purpose of electing representatives. These ten were later sub- 
divided into quite a number more. Most men signed them- 

19 In National Genealogical Society Quarterly, June 1944. 


selves as of the parish in which they lived, so the parish is im- 
portant for identification purposes. In 1769, these counties 
were divided into districts for the purpose of holding circuit 
courts. These districts were : Charleston, Beaufort, Orange- 
burgh, Ninety Six, Camden and Cheraws. In 1785, the dis- 
tricts were divided into counties. Both of the references 
mentioned above list the counties in each district. In 1798, 
the state was divided into judicial districts once more. Miss 
Revill's pamphlet lists the counties under each judicial dis- 
trict and indicates those of which the records have been de- 
stroyed. Miss Wakefield's article gives the same information 
with respect to the counties in each district in slightly dif- 
ferent form. These judicial districts were later changed to 
counties and further subdivisions made. 

Miss Revill's pamphlet lists the 25 parishes, giving the 
date established and location of each and also the 14 town- 
ships. While no records were kept in the townships, the 
location is important for purposes of identification. 

Usually names of both parish and district, county and dis- 
trict, or township and district or county, are used, but each 
may be used alone. 


Fortunately for the researcher, there is available a very 
complete bibliography of printed materials on South Carolina 
in Dr. Easterby's Guide to the Study and Reading of South 
Carolina History. 20 This work includes both books and 
articles in periodicals. The more important classifications 
to be examined in order to select publications of interest are 
"Church of England", "marriage and death records", "epi- 
taphs", "church records other than Church of England", 
"particular denominations" and "genealogy". However, "pub- 
lic records" (particularly "miscellaneous"), "lists of soldiers", 
"local histories", "bibliography", "diaries", and in fact every 
classification, should be read with care. 

-'"J. H. Easterby; Guide to the Study and Reading of South Carolina 
History; A Classified Bibliography. (1950; with subsequent Supple- 


As this publication was issued in 1950, examination of peri- 
odicals, and book reviews in them, since that date will in a 
short time give a fairly complete coverage of available printed 
sources, except material published in the National Geneaogical 
Society Quarterly, the latter publication not being available to 
Dr. Easterby when he was compiling his bibliography. As 
the Quarterly published considerable South Carolina material 
it should be examined also. 

The South Carolina Archives Department has issued a list 
of its publications and of the microfilms available for purchase. 
Many of these contain source material of a genealogical nature. 

It will be noticed that for South Carolina much has been 
published in the way of recollections, general, local and church 
history, and various secondary works, but little actual gene- 
alogical source material except in the publications of the South 
Carolina Historical and Genealogical Society, the South Caro- 
lina State Historical Association, and the South Carolina 
Huguenot Society, and in the National Genealogical Society 
Quarterly and the older issues of the D. A.R. Magazine. 
These should be carefully examined. 

Census Records 

The Federal Census for 1790 is printed and indexed. The 
remaining census schedules have not been printed. That for 
1800 is complete except that Richland Co. is missing. Those 
for 1820 to 1880 inclusive are complete. The original sched- 
ules of 1800 to 1870 are in the National Archives in Washing- 
ton. Microfilms of the 1830 to 1880 schedules may be pur- 
chased from the National Archives. 21 Microfilm copies of 1830 
to 1880 inclusive are in the South Carolina Archives Depart- 
ment at Columbia, The Genealogical Society at Salt Lake City, 
from 1850 in the D. A. R. Library in Washington, and pre- 
sumably other libraries. 

Then there are the Mortality Schedules. In 1850, 1860, 1870 
and 1880, census enumerators secured information as to deaths 

See footnote 4. 


which had occurred in the twelve months preceding the taking 
cf the Census. It has been estimated that 13 per cent of all 
deaths occurring in this 31-year period are listed in these 
schedules. These schedules are now in the South Carolina Ar- 
chives Department in Columbia. 

Public Records 

Prior to 1785 all records were made in or sent to Charleston 
and there recorded. After the judicial districts began to 
function in 1772, cases were tried in the District but the 
records were sent to Charleston. 

After 1785 wills and deeds as well as judicial records were 
recorded in the District court houses, which later became the 
county court houses. However, because of changes and con- 
solidation of counties and sub-division of districts one some- 
times finds records pertaining to an area in a court house of 
another county, one that apparently had little relation to the 

When the court houses were established wills and deeds al- 
ready recorded were not transferred to them. Such records 
prior to 1785 for all of South Carolina remained in Charleston 
and are still in the court house there. Microfilms of many of 
these records are now in the South Carolina Archives Depart-' 
ment in Columbia. 

In 1939, the Works Progress Administration completed the 
copying of all wills in all counties formed prior to 1853 up to 
approximately that date. A typed copy is in the Archives De- 
partment in Columbia. Microfilms of many of the county 
records from 1785 to 1865 have been made and are in the 
Archives Department. The originals are still in the counties. 

Unfortunately for those tracing lines in South Carolina be- 
tween 1785 and 1865, of the 27 counties established in 1798, 
records of six were destroyed during the Civil War or soon 
thereafter. These are Beaufort, Chesterfield, Colleton, George- 
town, Lexington, and Orangeburgh. Records of nine more 
have been damaged by fire at one time or another, with vary- 
ing losses. These are Abbeville, Union, Lancaster, Kershaw, 
Darlington, Sumpter, Marion, Charleston, and Williamsburg. 


While deeds and wills prior to 1785 are still in Charleston, 
the bulk of the other records have been transferred to the 
South Carolina Archives Department in Columbia. A brief 
description of the more important types is given in the article 
by Roberta P. Wakefield in the National Genealogical Society 
Quarterly for September 1952, referred to above. 

These records vary in type but are tremendously valuable to 
the genealogist. The land records include more than 50,000 
surveys between 1730 and 1780, which show where the land 
was located and gives the names of adjoining landowners. 
They are indexed. There are many land records, known as 
"Memorials", which give still more information about subse- 
quent owners; some of these have been abstracted by Mrs. 
Jerome A. Esker and published under the title, South Carolina 
Memorials (Registration of Land Grants). 

Other records there marriages, settlements, five volumes 
containing these between 1785 and 1865. A number of such 
settlements are also in the 130 volumes of miscellaneous 
records (1770-1870), which also contain deeds other than of 
land, gifts, powers of attorney, claims, citizenship certificates, 
etc. There are 65 volumes of mortgages, some as early as 

Those interested in the Revolution should not overlook the 
series of published "Stub Indents", 22 covering payments to 
former soldiers and those furnishing supplies. The Archives 
Department also has a splendid card index of every name, even 
of a witness, on the original petitions and claims with respect 
to Revolutionary services. Many of these bear signatures 
which are not only interesting but sometimes valuable in deter- 
mining identity. 

Church Records 

Prior to the Revolution the Church of England was the Es- 
tablished Church. All Episcopal parish registers still in exist- 
ence have been published, as have records of the Quakers in 

~ 2 Stub Entries to Indents issued in payment of claims against South 
Carolina growing out of the Revolution. Published by the South Caro- 
lina Archives Dept. 


Charleston and the Stoney Creek and Circular (Congrega- 
tional) Churches. Specific references are given in Dr. East- 
erby's bibliography. 

Marriage Records 

Prior to 1911 marriage records were not kept regularly in 
South Carolina. Newspaper notices are an important source 
for specific marriage dates. Many of these, beginning with 
1732, have been abstracted and published either separately or 
in various periodicals. These, too, are listed in Dr. Easterby's 

Manuscript Collections 

The South Caroliniana Library of the University of South 
Carolina has an extensive manuscript collection which includes 
not only private papers but church session and minute books 
of considerable genealogical value. 

Numerous collections of South Carolina unpublished 
materials are in the manuscript departments of the libraries 
of Duke University and the University of North Carolina. 
These are particularly valuable for the period from 1800 to 


The genealogist beginning work in South Carolina should 
first get Dr. Easterby's bibliography (footnote 20) and ex- 
amine it carefully for published materials on the family, the 
locality in which it lived, and all related families and persons. 
These books should then be consulted. After exhausting these 
references and any developed in the course of such examina- 
tion, the next step will be to send to the South Carolina Ar- 
chives Department for the list of its publications and also 
the list of microfilms available there. 

Pertinent publications not heretofore seen should then be 
procured and studied. But, in all probability, sooner or later 
one must either go to South Carolina or employ competent 
research assistance there. 

Time will be saved if the evolution of the counties has been 


clearly understood, and if the materials available in Columbia 
have been studied, from the references herein suggested and 
the list of microfilms and other records available which can be 
procured from the South Carolina Archives Department. 

For work in original records, Columbia is the place to begin, 
followed by Charleston for the period prior to 1800, the county 
seat of the county concerned or the neighboring counties, and 
the manuscript collections of various colleges and universities, 
in that order. 

In spite of the tremendous destruction of records in South 
Carolina, much remains but one must search for it. There 
is no easy way of doing genealogical research in South Caro- 



Georgia, the thirteenth Colony, was founded by General 
James Edward Oglethorpe, in 1733. The charter, granted by 
George II of England, created a board of trustees, called 
"The Trustees for Establishing the Colony of Georgia in 
America'*, for a term of twenty-one years. 

In 1741 the Province of Georgia was divided into two 
counties : Savannah and Frederica. The latter division never 
actually functioned as a separate government, its affairs being 
placed two years later under the jurisdiction of the Savannah 
officers. Thus, until the Revolution and the subsequent adop- 
tion of the first Constitution, the State had but one county. 
The trustees of the Colony surrendered their charter in 1752, 
and Georgia became a Royal Province. In 1758, a statute was 
enacted dividing the several districts and divisions of the Prov- 
ince into parishes. The first eight were: Christ Church, St. 
Matthew, St. George, St. Paul, St. Philip, St. John, St. Andrew, 
and St. James. In March 1765, four additional parishes were 
created: St. David, St. Patricks, St. Thomas, and St. Mary: 
Administration of the affairs of the Province thus assumed 
the mixed character of civil and ecclesiastical authority which 
lasted until the adoption of the first State Constitution in 1777. 
With the adoption of the Constitution of 1777, seven counties 
were created from the parishes. Wilkes, the eighth county, 
created in 1777, was made from original territory. 

Savannah was the scene of much upheaval during the Rev- 
olutionary War, and many of the colonial records were scat- 
tered and destroyed ; therefore, it became necessary for 
Georgia to have transcripts made of such of her records as 
are filed in the British Public Records Office in England. To 
learn the names of emigrants, grantees, persons receiving civil 

* Reprinted from the article, "Genealogical Research in Georgia", which 
appeared in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, June 1952, 
slightly condensed and brought up to date by Jean Stephenson with in- 
formation furnished by Mrs. Bryan. 


and military commissions, etc., it is necessary to consult The 
Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Allen D. Candler, 
editor, published under the authority of the Georgia Legisla- 
ture, vols. 1-19, 21-26. Vols. 27-39 have been transcribed, 
typed, and indexed, but not published. A general index to 
Candler's published Colonial Records was brought out as a 
typewritten manuscript in 1937 as Official Project No. 165-31*- 
6999, W. P. A., supervised by the Savannah Historical Re- 
search Association. Vol. 20 (1734-1735, original papers, cor- 
respondence to and from trustees, General Oglethorpe and 
others) has now been typed and indexed and is available in 
the Department of Archives. Duplicate copies of all type- 
written manuscripts of Georgia's Colonial Records, vols. 20, 
27-39, are filed with the Georgia Historical Society, 501 Whit- 
aker Street, Savannah. A List of the Early Settlers of 
Georgia, edited by E. Merton Coulter and Albert B. Saye (Uni- 
versity of Georgia Press, Athens, 1949), contains names of 
"Persons who went from Europe to Georgia at the Trustees' 
Charge and Persons Who Went from Europe to Georgia on 
their own Account." 

Historical Collections of the Joseph Habersham Chapter, 
Georgia D. A. R., vol. Ill, published 1910, pp. 161-172, list ap- 
proximately 402 of Georgia's Colonial Wills, 1734-1779, either 
in recorded or original form, on file at that time in the Office of 
the Secretary of State, State Capitol, Atlanta. These original 
wills and recorded wills (Books A and AA) are now on file 
in the Department of Archives. Colonel Telamon Cuyler ab- 
stracted many of these wills, and there are typewritten copies 
of his abstracts entitled "Georgia Colonial Wills" at the 
Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, and at the Savannah 
Public Library. The following original manuscript volumes 
on file in the Department of Archives also aid the genealogist 
in research of colonial records : 

Bonds, Bills of Sale, Deeds of Gift, Powers of Attorney 1 
1755-1762— Book I 1772-1777— Book Y 1779-1780-- 

1761-1765— Book O 1777-1829— Book HH 1783-1792— Book O 

1765-1772— Book R 1778-1782— 1792-1813— Book D 

1 This series contains some marriage contracts. 



1751-1766— Book C 2 1769-1771— Book V 1775-1798— Book DD 

1766-1769— Book S 1771-1774— Book X a 1783-1802— Book BZ 

1769-4/19— Book U 1774-1784— Book CC 2 

Estates, Appraisement, and Administration 
1755-1771— Book D 3 1771-1775— Book Z 3 1777-1778— Book G 4 

Estates, Inventories of 
1754-1771— Book F 1776-1777— Book FF 1777-1778— Book D 

1755-1763— Book E 1765-1770— Book Q 1775-1822— Book EE 

1762-1765— Book G 1770-1785— Book W 

Letters of Guardianship Entry of Clavms 

1757-1776— Book N Ca. 1753 to Ca. 1757— Book U 6 

Marks and Brands 
1775-1793 9 

There were only six colonies of immigrants of any size that 
entered the Province of Georgia. First, under Oglethorpe, 
1733; second, Salzburgers, 1734; third, Moravians, 1735; 
fourth, Scottish Highlanders, 1736; fifth, the second band of 
Salzburgers and Moravians, 1736 ; sixth, the Dorchester, S. C. 
people 1751. The Colonial Records of Georgia, vol. X (Cand- 
ler), which includes the "Minutes and Proceedings of the Gov- 
ernor and Council, 1767-1769," relates on pp. 690-694, the 
origin of the Quaker settlement at Old Wrightsboro. The 
names of the Georgia Quakers appear also in William Wade 

In 2 volumes. 

3 Orders issued by the Provincial Governors for the appraisal and ad- 
ministration of estates. 

4 Includes orders of the Register of Probates for the appraisal and ad- 
ministration of estates in Chatham Co. Volume presented to the Georgia 
Historical Society, Savannah, 11 Feb. 1928. 

6 Entry of claims records, claimants' names, number of acres, situation 
of lands, and names of original grantees. 

6 Cattle brands recorded in the Secretary's Office and includes the names 
of persons having names recorded. 


Hinshaw Index to Quaker Meeting Records, with the North 
Carolina group, on file in the Friends Historical Library of 
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Penna. The small Jewish 
Colony which arrived in Savannah in 1733 should not be over- 
looked, with such names as Sheftall, Minis, DeLyon and 
Nunis, who gave great strength to the young Colony of 

Among the most important colonial church records which 
survive are: (1) The original "Ebenezer Church Record," 
giving baptisms, marriages and burials of the Effingham 
County Salzburgers. The original manuscript written in Ger- 
man is on file in the Library of Congress, Washington. The 
manuscript was translated by A. G. Voigt, D.D., LL.D., and 
published 1929 under the title Ebenezer Record Book; (2) 
"Register of Midivay Congregational Church, 175J>-1788," 
gives births, baptisms and marriages of the Dorchester people 
in Liberty County, original manuscript on file with the 
Georgia Historical Society, Savannah. A typewritten manu- 
script of this Register in 2 volumes has been presented to the 
Department of Archives by the Georgia Historical Society. 
Stacy's History of Midway Church, published 1899, is based on 
much of the material in the above mentioned manuscript. 

An Act of the Colonial Legislature in 1763 established a 
press in the Colony, and the first issue of the Georgia Gazette 
appeared April 7, 1763. There is a General Index to the 
Savannah, Georgia, Newspapers, 1763-1845, in the Library 
of the Georgia Historical Society. Typewritten manuscripts 
of the Index are on file at the Georgia Historical Society, 
Savannah Public Library and the Department of Archives and 
History in Atlanta. 

The greatest bibliography on Georgia is A Catalogue of the 
Wimberley Jones de Renne Georgia Library, 3 vols. (Worm- 
sloe, Savannah, 1931). This library was purchased by the 
University of Georgia, Athens, and is now housed at the Uni- 
versity. Two other bibliographies should be mentioned. 
Ella May Thornton, Finding-List of Books and Pamphlets Re- 
lating to Georgia and Georgians (Atlanta, 1928), and a 


chapter, "Select Bibliography-Note on Sources," in the re- 
vised and enlarged edition of E. Merton Coulter's A Short 
History of Georgia (Chapel Hill, University of North Caro- 
lina Press, 1947). As a general background of Georgia from 
her beginning, and before taking up a study of Georgia fami- 
lies and their migrations, Coulter's History is recommended. 
The Georgia Historical Quarterly, edited and published at the 
University of Georgia in Athens, by the Georgia Historical So- 
ciety, has been appearing quarterly each year beginning with 
1917. Particular mention should be given here to an article 
by W. S. Yenawine entitled "A Checklist of Source Materials 
for the Counties of Georgia", which appeared in the April 1948 
issue of the Georgia Historical Quarterly. The genealogist 
will find this list invaluable as a guide. If available for cir- 
culation, some published county histories, publications of the 
Georgia D. A. R., and other books bearing on genealogy may 
be borrowed through inter-library loan from the Librarian, 
Library Extension Service, 92 Mitchell, S. W., Atlanta. 

There are two kinds of land grants in Georgia, one known 
as Head-Rights, and the other as Lottery Grants. Head-Right, 
grants were first issued by the Trustees, under authority of 
the King, then by the royal governors, under authority of the 
same, then by the State. Thirty-five counties make up the 
Head-Right territory : Bryan, Bullock, Burke, Camden, Chat- 
ham, Clarke, Columbia, Effingham, Elbert, Emanuel, Franklin, 
Glascock, Glynn, Greene, Hancock, Hart, Jackson, Jefferson, 
Johnson, half of Laurens, Liberty, Lincoln, Madison, Mc- 
Duffie, Mcintosh, half of Montgomery, Oconee, Oglethorpe, 
Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, Tattnall, Warren, Washington 
and Wilkes ; also parts of the following lottery Counties are in 
Head-Right territory: Baldwin, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, 
Walton and Wayne. It was not until 1803 that the Lottery 
System came into being. 

Under the Act of 11 May 1803, the first land lottery was 
held in 1805. Between 1805 and 1832 there were six lot- 
teries, and the counties organized and distributed by the lot- 
tery method follow alphabetically, with the date of the Lottery 
Act in parenthesis: Appling (15 Dec. 1818); Baldwin, Dis- 


tricts 1 through 5 (11 May 1803), and Districts 6 through 20 
(26 June 1806) ; Carroll (9 June 1825) ; Cherokee, land and 
gold (21 Dec. 1830) ; Coweta (9 June 1825) ; Dooly (15 May 
1821) ; Early (15 Dec. 1818) ; Fayette (15 May 1821) ; Gwin- 
nett (15 Dec. 1818) ; Habersham (15 Dec. 1818) ; Hall (15 
Dec. 1818) ; Henry (15 May 1821) ; Houston (15 May 1821) ; 
Irwin (15 Dec. 1818) ; Lee (9 June 1825) ; Monroe (15 May 
1821) ; Muscogee (9 June 1825) ; Rabun (15 Dec. 1818) ; 
Troup (9 June 1825) ; Walton (15 Dec. 1818) ; Wayne (11 
May 1803) ; Wilkinson, Districts 1 through 5 (11 May 1803), 
and Districts 6 through 28 (26 June 1806). Twenty-two 
counties were organized and distributed by the Lottery system. 

It will be noticed by the dates of the Acts, that not all lot- 
teries were held the same year of the Act calling for same. The 
years held were namely: 1805, 1806, 1820, 1821, 1827 and 
1832. In Cherokee County, one section was laid off in 160 
acre land lots, and the other section was laid off in 40 acre gold 
lots; therefore, the first mentioned was called the Cherokee 
Land Lottery, while the other was called the Cherokee Gold 
Lottery, both were authorized by Act of 21 Dec. 1830, and both 
lotteries were held in 1832. By studying the Head-Right 
counties and land lottery counties, one quickly sees that all 
other counties have been made from those named above. 

Hall's original county map of Georgia, showing present and 
original counties and land districts, is very useful to the 
genealogist ; photostats of Hall's Map can be ordered for $1.00 
from the Department of Archives and History. Also avail- 
able from the Department of Archives is the pamphlet, Au- 
thentic List of All Land Lottery Grants made to Veterans of 
the Revolutionary War by the State of Georgia ($1.12). 

If the searcher does not have access to Georgia Laws or Di- 
gests, the following publications quote pertinent sections from 
the Acts governing Head-Right and lottery grants : S. G. Mc- 
Lendon's History of the Public Domain of Georgia, 1924, and 
L. L. Knight's Georgia Roster of the Revolution, 1920. In 
Knight's book, attention is called to pages 193-197 which is 
an explanatory chapter on "Head-Rights and Lottery Land 


Grants of Georgia." All manuscript records mentioned by 
McLendon and Knight as being in the Office of the Secretary 
of State are no longer in that office, but are filed in the De- 
partment of Archives and History, which is under the juris- 
diction of the Secretary of State. There is an index of ap- 
proximately 43,660 cards to head-right and bounty grants, ar- 
ranged alphabetically, in the name of the grantee. Example 
of entry: Alexander, Samuel, St. George's (Parish) (Book) 
E (p.) 13, 48 (acres), 1764. Therefore, by consulting this 
general name-index to head-right and bounty grants, the lo- 
cation of the land, in which book the land is recorded, the page 
number in the original book, the number of acres the grantee 
received, and the year granted, can be found. This index is 
particularly useful when the searcher does not know in which 
parish or county his or her ancestor received a grant. 

Bear in mind, however, that the grants very seldom list 
heirs or give genealogical data, but are helpful by showing 
where the land was granted and the date of the grant. 

The appendix to Smith's Story of Georgia and the Georgia 
People (1900), under the caption "Headrights granted by the 
Colonial and State Governments from 1754 to 1800" lists 
names of many persons receiving grants, grouped roughly by 
counties. While there are numerous errors and it is not com- 
plete, it is helpful to those unable to work in the records in 

Unfortunately, the census records of Georgia prior to 1820 
were destroyed. Census records from 1820 to 1880, inclusive, 
are available at the National Archives in the original or on 
microfilm, and at the Georgia Department of Archives and 
History on microfilm. Copies of those from 1830 to 1880 may 
be purchased from the National Archives. 

Another useful tool is the Department's General Catalog of 
approximately 100,000 names, arranged alphabetically, giving 
colonial service ; all state and federal officers 1777-1952 ; mili- 
tary officers 1777-1860; county officers 1777-1800, including 
sheriffs and justices of the peace through 1815. Dates of com- 
mission for many of the justices of the inferior court are also 
included, but are not complete. The service records have been 


taken from source materials on file in the Georgia Department 
of Archives and History, but vital dates and names of wives 
have been secured from members of families. 

Early Tax Digests of Georgia, Ruth Blair, 1926, fills to a 
large extent the loss of the 1790, 1800 and 1810 federal census 
reports. This volume was indexed, and a typewritten manu- 
script of the index is on file in the Department of Archives and 
History. The original tax digest 1790-1818, also some for 
later years, are on file in the Department of Archives and His- 
tory. A copy of Early Tax Digests of Georgia, with index, 
has been presented to The National Archives for use in the 
general Search Room. 

For the names of North and South Carolinians and Vir- 
ginians coming into Georgia between 1773 and 1775, the most 
valuable record from the genealogists standpoint is the "Land 
Court Journal to ceded Lands, 1773-1775". This manuscript 
was formerly in the Greene County, Georgia, courthouse, but 
is now deposited in the Department of Archives and History. 
The manuscript had fallen to pieces and was beyond repair be- 
fore it reached the Department. Fortunately, it was copied 
and published in Early Records of Georgia, Wilkes County, 
Davidson (2 vols., 1932) . The Journal appears in vol. I, pp. 

At the time of the Revolution, Georgia's population did not 
number twenty thousand. It was not until 1781 that the State 
began to provide land for those who had rendered service in 
the Revolution. "Bounty" grants were given only to those 
who had rendered service during the Revolutionary War. 
Franklin and Washington Counties were almost entirely set- 
tled by Revolutionary veterans. The original grant was 250 
acres of land, with tax, 1781, and by the Act of 1784, this was 
increased to 287 Vk acres with no tax exemption. These 
counties were head-right territory ; therefore, it is very neces- 
sary that the word "bounty" appear in connection with the 
land. An Act of 1777 had provided that : "Every free white 
person, or head of a family, shall be entitled to, allotted and 
granted him, 200 acres of land, and for every other white per- 
son of the said family, fifty acres of land ..." Therefore, it 


is easy to see that a man, not a soldier, with wife would re- 
ceive 250 acres of land, and could be confused with the Rev- 
olutionary Grant for 250 acres. "Bounty" is proof of Rev- 
olutionary service. 

Revolutionary Soldiers* Receipts for Georgia Bounty Grants 
(lithogravure reproduction of original record on file in the De- 
partment of Archives and History) shows approximately 1,040 
names of refugees, citizens, and soldiers of the Georgia Line, 
officers and men of the Georgia State Galleys, etc. This is 
a supplemental record which should be consulted along with 
Knight's Revolutionary Records of Georgia or Roster of the 
Revolution, 1920. Although not of great genealogical value, 
it is well to call attention to The Revolutionary Records of the 
State of Georgia, A. D. Candler, ed. (3 vols., Atlanta, 1908). 

Hero of Hornet's Nest, A Biography of Elijah Clark, Louise 
Frederick Hays (Stratford House, Inc., New York, 1946), has 
60 pages of footnotes and a bibliography dealing with Rev- 
olutionary source material in the Department of Archives 
and History, as well as data in other depositories and in pri- 
vate collections. The footnotes and bibliography would aid 
the genealogist. 

The Department of Archives is now listing on cards 23,983 
names which appear in four manuscript volumes entitled A 
List of Names of Those Entitled to Draw Under the Act of 
May 11, 1803. This is a most important list as it gives the 
county in which the person was residing at the time he was 
entitled to draw. It also serves as a census record for 1802 
as the person must have resided in the state twelve months 
prior to the passage of the Act, in order to be entitled to draw. 

The volume of Passports, 1785-1820, issued to citizens, many 
from the Carolinas, traveling through Georgia to the "Louisi- 
ana Territory", "Mississippi Territory", etc., is valuable 
material for the genealogist. This typewritten volume is 
from original manuscripts in the Department of Archives and 
History. There are approximately 2,617 entries in the index. 
Many of these Passports have been published in Passports Is- 
sued by Governors of Georgia, 1785-1809, by Mary G. Bryan 


(Special Publication No. 21, of the National Genealogical So- 
ciety, 1959). 

Patriotic societies in Georgia, mainly the D. A. R. Chapters, 
are depositing with the Department of Archives and History 
valuable typewritten, notarized copies of Bible records, ab- 
stracts of marriages, cemetery inscriptions, church records, 
wills, estate papers, deeds, genealogical charts, and similar 
records. This source must not be overlooked by the genealo- 

Georgia records after 1777 are, for the most part, on file 
in the individual counties except where they have been de- 
stroyed by fire, neglect, and carelessness. By visiting the 
county seat, in the Office of Ordinary, wills, marriages, ad- 
ministration of estates, etc., may be found. In the office of 
Clerk of Superior Court, are tax digests, deeds, minutes of 
the Superior Court, etc. The Secretary of State prepares and 
publishes each year Georgia's Official Directory of State and 
County Officers. This is distributed free, and is a useful tool 
to genealogists who need to know the names of officials whose 
records they desire to examine. 

The Georgia Department of Archives and History has, since 
1951, been microfilming the records of the oldest counties. 
These include deeds, wills, returns on estates, marriages, court 
minutes, etc. Among those already on file in Atlanta are: 
Camden, Chatham, Liberty, Richmond (all 1777), Franklin 
(1784) ; Montgomery, Oglethorpe, Screven and Warren 
(1793); Jackson (1786); Tattnall (1801); Telfair (1807); 
Emanuel (1812) ; Newton (1821) ; Stewart (1830) ; Webster 

County histories have been published covering a number 
of the 159 counties, and many of these have included some 
source materials, such as marriage records, cemetery records, 
or abstracts of wills. Publications of local historical societies 
likewise contain such records. Examples are : "DeKalb County 
Marriages 1840-1853" in vols. 2, 3 and 4 of Atlanta Historical 
Society Bulletin, and Abstracts of Wills, Chatham County, 
Georgia 1773-1817, by Mabel Freeman LaFar and Caroline 


Price Wilson (Publication No. 6 of the National Genealogical 

The Georgia Historical Society in Savannah was organized 
in 1839 for the purpose of preserving history of Georgia and 
Savannah in particular. It has published eleven volumes of 
Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, the first in 1840. 
It also publishes The Georgia Historical Quarterly. While 
devoted primarily to historical articles the documents, diaries, 
etc., appearing from time to time often provide information 
to the genealogist. The Society has extensive collections, both 
of old books and manuscripts, which are open to the public, 
except its files of rare newspapers, these being available to 
members only. 

Births and deaths were not recorded by the State of Georgia 
prior to Jan. 1, 1919. However, Atlanta (Fulton County) 
began recording births in 1887 and deaths in 1896. Savan- 
nah (Chatham Co.) has births recorded from 1890 and deaths 
from 1803. The Mortuary Records (deaths), 1803-1832, were 
published in Annals of Georgia; Mortuary Records, vol. 3, by 
Caroline Price Wilson (1933). 


The Trails West 

Before the American Revolution, adventurers and Indian 
fighters from the thirteen English colonies found their way 
through the mountain barrier that stretches from New Eng- 
land to Georgia. These were the trail breakers and they fol- 
lowed the natural paths to Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. In 
moving toward the interior, explorer and hunter were followed 
by Indian trader and then by speculator, settler and merchant. 
This movement of settlement matched the spread south to 
Georgia and the spread north in New England and New York. 
Beyond the river valleys of the seaboard and piedmont, 
geography mainly determined the areas to be settled first. In 
tracing the origins of the first migrations, it is helpful to 
identify the paths or trails through the gaps in the mountain 
barrier to any particular valley or area. Important factors 
were buffalo and animal trails, Indian trade routes, the loca- 
tions of salt licks, so indispensable to settlement, springs and 
abundant game. In some areas belligerent Indian groups, 
such as the Six Nations of New York, constituted a formidable 
barrier against the westward movement around which the 
trails must lead. Generally speaking, however, migrations 
followed the parallels of longitude to the West. 

Kentucky and Tennessee 

The first settlers of Kentucky arrived at Boonesborough 
from North Carolina in 1775 and at Harrodsburg that same 
year from Virginia. Later, settlers followed the Ohio from 
western Pennsylvania and in the valleys of the Kentucky, 
Ohio and Cumberland there was a merging of families that 
originated along the seaboard from New Jersey to the Caro- 
linas. Many families were restless and would not stay in 
Kentucky or Tennessee. They were to make a major contribu- 


tion to the rest of the settlement of the West, moving into 
southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and on into Iowa and Mis- 
souri. Eventually, they were in the vanguard of migration to 
Oregon and California and later to the mountain states. 
Others went south to help settle all the area from Alabama 
west to Texas. Those who went across the Ohio River quickly 
began to mingle with a great stream of New Englanders which 
had first migrated north into New Hampshire and Vermont 
and then west by the Mohawk in New York to Ohio. Those 
who went south were joined by those who migrated from Caro- 
lina into Georgia. It is this great divide in the migration to 
Kentucky and Tennessee that makes most western Americans 
of Revolutionary origin related to every other part of America. 
This path through Ohio, Kentucky or Tennessee is a major 
key which all students of genealogy must remember in tracing 
the movements of any particular family. 

The French 

To most rules in relation to patterns of settlement and mi- 
gration there are exceptions. Such is the migration pattern 
of the French from Louisiana and Canada. Since they fol- 
lowed the great rivers and their goal was trade with the 
Indians, their centers of settlement were isolated posts like 
Kaskaskia and St. Louis. As fur traders, they knew no 
bounds and traveled freely across the lands of the Indian. 
Naturally, therefore, they led in the settlement of most of the 
north and far west. Since they were beyond the edge of 
family settlement, some took as wives women of Indian ori- 
gin, without benefit of clergy. Years later, such unions were 
often formalized by a Christian marriage when the first minis- 
ter or priest visited the remote area of settlement. At this 
time, the children would be baptized and all of these sacra- 
ments would be recorded, an essential document for the use 
and interpretation of later generations. Another group of 
French settlers were the Acadians scattered by the British in 
1755-56 among their colonies to the south of Canada. Re- 
ceived as enemies, they naturally tended to gather together 


in the face of hostility, and with the aid of the French and 
Spanish to concentrate in Louisiana. 

Spanish and Russian 

Outside of the main stream of migration were the Spanish 
settlers of the Southwest who were in the Rio Grande Valley 
of New Mexico in 1598. It was the culmination of a century 
of exploration, conquest and settlement north from the lands 
of the Aztecs. The desert mountains had been overcome by 
one discovery of silver and other minerals after another. 
From Zacatecas to Durango, San Luis Potosi, Saltillo and 
Moncolva, the occupation had led very nearly to the present 
bounds of Mexico by 1590. Every step was planned, directed 
and financed by men of wealth who employed armies of Indian 
and half-breed workers and caravans of animals. The fol- 
lowing century witnessed bloody revolts by enslaved Indians 
and racial outcasts, struggles between land owners and mis- 
sionaries over Indian labor, and consolidation of settlement in 
agricultural lands, but no real advance. It was 1769 before 
Portola and the Franciscans marched up the West Coast to 
found San Diego and the other missions and presidios of 
California. The white population in all of this development 
tended to mingle with Indian and Negro elements, since many 
more men than women migrated from Spain. Nevertheless, 
Spanish families throughout South America and in California 
still send their sons to be educated in Europe where they tend 
to marry. Numerically, however, the actual Spanish popula- 
tion in the southwest was insignificant in comparison with the 
modern Mexican migrations witnessed in this century. Simi- 
larly, the Russians who migrated from Siberia to Alaska and 
Northern California brought few permanent settlers with 
families, and they are completely overshadowed by the con- 
centration of White Russians which came to Northern Cal- 
ifornia following World War I. 

The Tory Pattern 

Most Tories who left the colonies at the end of the Revolu- 
tion were settled by the British in Nova Scotia, New Bruns- 


wick and Ontario. They often represented wealthy and profes- 
sional classes in the original colonies and, because of the com- 
mon bond of loyalty to the Crown, many have migrated within 
Canada as a group. Others returned to their original homes 
within a decade or so after the Revolution or tended to cross 
back over the border following the Great Lakes and the water 
routes into the northern tier of states. 


Many groups who settled in the west were refugees, some 
even from American persecutions. There were those who 
came from Europe for economic reasons, like the Swiss whom 
Lord Selkirk brought to the Red River colony. Confronted 
with a bleak world and armed hostility they fled to Minnesota 
and a group of them went east to found Vevay, Indiana. 
There were those who were wrenched from their homes by 
political events. The Revolution of 1848 brought the Ger- 
mans to St. Louis, the potato famines brought Irish to many 
of the major cities of America, while the political prisoners of 
France were shipped by their government to San Francisco. 
Instinctively, each element of a common experience tended to 
join forces. Thus, there was a cultural and religious bond be- 
tween Irish and French in California. It was natural that 
new citizens adopted old economic occupations and that 
French, Italian and Hungarian revolutionaries moved into 
those parts of California where wine culture was possible. 
The very presence of these linguistic groups in the west led to 
migrations of later refugees from the homeland to California, 
of French upon the fall of Napoleon III, of Hungarians from 
the revolutions of 1918 and of Mexicans from the Revolution 
of 1910 to join the older Spanish- American population. Each 
group, when it became part of America, tended to follow the 
migration patterns of those around them. Thus, it was logi- 
cal that French merchants followed the gold rushes from 
California to Oregon, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia and 
Alaska. In the middle west, the foreign settler also followed 
the established geographic patterns of the area of settlement. 
Such was the numerically significant migration of the Scandi- 


navians who first came to Minnesota, Wisconsin and then 
spread west to the Dakotas and more recently to the Pacific 
Northwest and Alaska. In the coast seaport areas they were 
to join Scandinavians who had come as seafarers and fisher- 
men as early as 1860. 


Except for immigrant Scotch Irish and Germans, much of 
the original western movement up through 1820 originated 
with the older populations of the 13 original states. A family 
might move once a generation and, although one life could have 
witnessed the migration across the Continent, the moves 
tended to match a time-scale that was slightly longer. Thus, 
a great-great-great-grandmother moved from New Jersey to 
the mountains of North Carolina by 1771, to Kentucky by 
1799, to Illinois in 1824. Her grandson, born in Kentucky, 
completed the trip across the Continent to Oregon in 1852, 
and his daughter and family migrated east to Idaho in 1886. 
Some of the motives behind this urge to move westward are 
significant and explain the importance of certain records com- 
monly used to trace families. They may be defined as follows : 

(1) The predominance of large families, too many heirs for a single 

(2) Soil exhaustion within a generation after the first settlement and 
the consequent decrease in crop yield which made new lands most at- 

(3) Rises in land values, the establishment of large land holdings 
and the economic dominance of a few so that only those with capital 
could see a future in their own state. 

(4) The development of many small urban centers which failed to 
obtain necessary economic activity to insure their continued life. As 
transportation changed from river and turnpike to canal, to railroad, to 
modern highway, first one type of town after another has been supplanted 
by rivals. The extent of short-lived ghost towns across the American 
map is illustrated in the birth and death rate of post offices and platted 
subdivisions. Many towns were stillborn, purely speculative in character 
and had no real populations. The citizens of the other towns that really 
died moved on to new livelihoods not necessarily in the successful neigh- 
boring settlement, but in the towns of the area to which their farm neigh- 
bors were migrating. 

(5) Failures to establish land titles drove many groups west. In 


search of land which they had not owned in Europe, they were hungry 
for acres of basic wealth. Often these people were victims of legal bat- 
tles over titles, the mismanagement of land speculators and land com- 
panies. Naturally, they kept moving until they obtained their goal of 
landed wealth, and speculation was their meat and drink. 

(6) The migrations were inspired and directed by propaganda, con- 
scious and unconscious. Letters from those who had migrated served as 
a major source of such inspiration. Newspapers, pamphlets, guides, all 
fed this dream of a land where the grass was greener and taller. 

(7) The partially settled areas sought, and their representatives in 
Congress obtained, laws which opened the public domain. The first group 
to benefit were major speculators, the second, officers and soldiers in the 
Revolutionary and succeeding wars, the next those with meager capital, 
and lastly, just those who would come. Extreme were the donation land 
claims of the Oregon Territory which provided a man and wife with one 
square mile and an unmarried man with a half square mile. 

(8) The frontiers were restless places and there were many who came 
but did not fit into the pattern of society as it became organized. As a 
result, they fled from their own acts, from acts of others, or because of 
personal characteristics which were unacceptable to others. If there 
was a school and a church within five miles, it was time for such people 
to move on to more remote areas. 

(9) Divorce was not socially acceptable, and where it occurred, the 
migration of both parties frequently resulted, the man disappearing so 
far as the woman's family is concerned. 

Unmarried Men 

The unmarried man has always been free to follow op- 
portunity as it beckons and his migrations conform to no set 
pattern. One brother might go east to the great cities, or to 
school and never return, while another might go west to the 
newest frontier in search of gold, work or land. The 
greatest influencing factors in their migration and their 
choices are the migration of their friends and of members of 
their own families. Thus, when the unmarried paternal 
grandfather came to Oregon in 1850, he came with his married 
sisters. Similarly, the unmarried maternal grandfather came 
to California in the gold rush of 1849 with a group of men 
from his own community who had organized themselves into 
a company to go to the gold fields. As a result, when one 
examines the first Oregon census of 1850 and the second census 
of 1860, one finds groups of men from the same place living 


together, whether they be from Missouri, Scotland or Finland. 
Later, census records show that they married locally or if 
they were foreign, sent or went back for wives, and that others 
had come to the area who undoubtedly were relations of their 

Women and the Family 

The clue to the migration of women is bound up with the 
institution of the family, for women migrated usually in 
family groups. Thus, a great-grandmother and four sisters 
came to Oregon in 1852 with their husbands and near grown 
children, of which the paternal grandmother was one. This 
pattern of migration had been repeated for at least three 
generations in more than one branch of the family, when sis- 
ters and their families had moved from New Jersey and Vir- 
ginia, to Pennsylvania and North Carolina, to Kentucky and 
from Kentucky to Illinois. Usually, a few members of the 
family went ahead to blaze the trail. 

Those Who Stayed Behind 

When a migration took place, often older married children 
left parents behind with the youngest brother or sister. If a 
farm was involved, there may be a deed at the court house, in 
which all brothers and sisters relinquish their right in their 
father's farm to that younger brother. If only men migrated, 
then there may be descendants in the area by the female line. 
Marriage records of daughters will be valuable in helping to 
identify modern cousins. They are likely to have letters from 
the west. If the family is no longer in the community, they 
may still be in neighboring communities, and even more likely 
in the nearest city. There is still a steady move from country 
to city going on all over America. 

Mysteries of the Family 

The tracing of a lineage may stop with a person whose ori- 
gin is shielded in mystery. People who migrate alone often 
migrate for reasons. Youths who run away may have been 
appalled by some simple deed. One of the Far West's early 
literary figures turned out to have fled his mountain home and 


changed his name when he rolled a stone down a hill and killed 
his neighbor's cow. Women in particular may be attempting 
to rise in social class. One such mysterious great grand- 
mother who refused to talk about her origin was the daughter 
of a jailer, an occupation that was despised in colonial times. 
In both cases, the general area from which they might have 
come was obvious and the identity was established through a 
study of records of probate in court houses. 


Those who assume aliases or migrate for more serious rea- 
sons are very difficult to trace and it may be years before any- 
one knowing of the search recognizes the key which unlocks 
the door to their past. A study of the history of the area 
where they are known to have liyed may help, and in particu- 
lar a study of their friends. Identify the men and women who 
witness documents for them. See if there is correspondence 
of famous and near famous individuals preserved in special 
collections relating to the area where they lived. Some of the 
crimes from which men fled are not crimes today. More than 
one man fled the threat of the debtors prison while many mar- 
ried women fled from the blot of divorce. Treason drove 
many of our ancestors to this country and their modern coun- 
terparts we know as political refugees. In the light of time, 
treason becomes acceptable. Yet, because of the fear of re- 
prisal, such persons often hide their identity. Within 
America, both Tory and Confederate went west as well as the 
remnants of families broken by divided loyalties of the wars. 

Church and Migration 

One of the strongest influences on the course of migration 
was the inspiration of a religious leader. The Mormons are 
only one of many groups that gathered together under in- 
spired leadership and went out into the "wilderness to seek 
the promised land. Most, if not all, states in the West boast 
of at least one such colony. As sincere believers in the right 
they also often disagreed and there were major schisms, many 


of which their descendants would deny. In tracing lost fami- 
lies the records of a particular church may therefore be the 
key you seek. Often churches record the movements of their 
members. Even if people lived in a missionary district, their 
religious experiences from baptism to death may be recorded 
in a missionary or circuit record book covering a wide area. 
The custody of such records may remain with the church or 
be in the hands of some regional or national church archives. 
Helpful in locating records are two bibliographies, "Church 
Archives in the United States and Canada . . .", by Edmund 
L. Binsfeld, published in the American Archivist for July 
1958, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 311-332, and A Survey of American 
Church Records, by E. Kay Kirkham (Salt Lake City, 1958). 


Early settlers may basically be hunters who migrated from 
some other fringe of settlement, and the key to their migra- 
tion will be buried in the records of the fur companies. There 
are the Astor papers at the Baker Library, Harvard Univer- 
sity, and the American Fur Company papers in the New York 
Historical Society, New York City, for which the American 
Historical Society published a Calendar as part of its Annual 
Report 19 UU, vols. 2 and 3. If they served the Hudson's Bay 
Company, its records are in the company archives, Beaver 
House, Great Trinity Lane, London, E. C. 2, England. Later 
immigrants would be farmers and are likely to have come 
from areas where the initial virgin fertility of the soil is 
exhausted. Persons connected with economic developments, 
road building, canals, inns, lumber, newspapers, mining, tend 
to follow those developments across America. The men in the 
mining camps knew each other from some place else and simi- 
larly the men in lumber industry tended to follow the same 
pattern from Maine to Michigan to Minnesota and west. In 
each area, new elements were introduced like the Scandina- 
vians in Minnesota; nevertheless, the same families are still 
following the timber in Oregon, California and British 
Columbia. Similarly, men went from California's gold fields 


to Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, British Col- 
umbia and the Yukon. 

Tracing Back 

To summarize the sources for tracing migrations, here is a 
check list : 

(1) Biographical sources available in large libraries, including ency- 
clopedias, Who's Who, and local histories. 

(2) Family papers and memoirs, your own, and your relatives, often 
in the hands of descendants of the youngest son. 

(3) Land records, local in court houses, federal in The National Ar- 

(4) Powers of attorney recorded in court houses. 

(5) Tax rolls and census records of the counties where families lived, 
in court houses, state archives and the federal census (to 1880) in The 
National Archives. 

(6) Probate records in local court houses, and if wills were challenged, 
the records of higher state courts. There are often a number of probate 
series in each county. 

(7) Court records, both criminal and civil. Again, where cases exist, 
it pays to see if an appeal was made to a higher court. 

(8) The papers of family friends, and even enemies, in historical 
societies and libraries, including diaries. 

(9) Pension records in The National Archives from the Revolution to 
the Spanish-American War, or in each southern state, for Confederates. 

(10) Church records, in the custody of the church, some denomi- 
national archives, or some historical society, or a library, often connected 
with the church. Other records will be peculiar to the area in which 
you are searching. Outside of the published guides to help the gene- 
alogical worker, the State Archives or the State Historical Society will 
have to direct your attention to tools in their area, such as newspaper 
indexes, D. A. R. cemetery indexes, etc 

Tracing Forward 

Part of genealogy is not only to find ancestors, but also to 
locate descendants. Those who work on such a project com- 
pile genealogies that are all inclusive. A grand tour of the 
United States may be necessary if the account goes back be- 
yond the Civil War, but first it would be wise to exhaust some 
of the published sources available in major libraries. These 
would include not only the biographical accounts in standard 


biographies, but the collection of current city directories and 
telephone books. For unusual names it may also be possible 
to obtain lists of licensed drivers from Motor Vehicle Depart- 
ments. Once these sources have been exhausted and initial 
contact made by mail or in person, with all members of the 
family, then a trip to Washington, D. C, is in order. Here, 
one should check the following obvious sources : 

(1) All pension and military bounty claim files in The National Ar- 
chives for individuals of the same name from the area in -which you are 
sure you are concerned. A spot check of other files may reveal an inter- 
relationship and the files for ex-slaves are invaluable for the data which 
is contained therein on former masters. 

(2) Once you have these names and the data their files reveal, turn to 
the U. S. Census and check the record of each family census by census 
from 1790 to 1880. 

(3) Check the publications at the Library of Congress, and D. A. R. 
Library for and from each county in the nation where the family was 
known to live for further data. These include directories as well as local 
histories and other publications of a local character. 

With this information in hand, one is then ready to plot a 
tour of the areas where the family lived. En route, one will 
visit the persons with whom one corresponded as a result of 
the directory search and, certainly, one will check the indexes 
in the court house for the surname in the following records: 
(1) Deed records: (2) marriage records ; (3) probate records 
and wills which may be separately recorded; (4) miscel- 
laneous records or powers of attorney; (5) court cases, and 
(6) tax rolls. (In the case of a key family, it may pay to 
skim the records for the names of witnesses. For many 
records where two parties are involved, there may be two in- 

In each community there may be relatives with papers, 
cemeteries, and perhaps church records of value. The depart- 
ment of vital records is often in the capital city, but searches 
cost fees, and in many western states the records do not be- 
gin until this century. At the state archives in the capitol, 
one should find more census, tax, veterans and state land 
records, all of which may help, as well as special indexes to 
pioneers and their biographies, and to newspapers in state 
libraries and historical societies. The nature of the record 


will vary from place to place, but the searcher will be depend- 
ent upon the staff and facilities of the institutions which he 
visits for guidance and help. 

The Great Blank Wall 

Sometimes genealogical research is up against a great 
blank wall and whole families disappear. This event can 
only be explained in terms of the events of that day which 
made history. A student faced with such a problem must 
look for possible trails of migration in terms of the condition 
of affairs when the wall appears. First, there are local news- 
papers that often record national or regional events; second, 
the publications of historical societies and local histories ; and 
third, annual yearbooks through which the general conditions 
of the times can be followed, such as Niles Register, 1811- 
1849, and Appleton's Annual Cyclopaedia,, 1861-1903. Of 
these sources, the newspapers may be the hardest to find. 
Each state has major collections, but there are always gaps 
and American Newspapers, 1821-1936, a union list edited by 
Winifred Gregory, is a basic tool. Major events have wide- 
spread results. The unrest in Missouri which formed such a 
vivid part in the background of the Civil War led to the great 
migration from that state to Oregon. The actual trails of mi- 
gration inspired those who lived along the road to follow the 
endless stream of wagons that rolled by on the way West. If 
there was excitement over gold, the family may have caught 
the fever. If there was some area being opened up for settle- 
ment, the land rush was the magnet. On the other hand, 
Indian Wars drove people out of the fringes of the frontier 
back to more settled areas. This return to civilization is un- 
expected but, nevertheless, part of the pattern. It will pay to 
read widely the reminiscences of those who witnessed life in 
the general area where the family lived. They may suddenly 
open up a vista leading to the origin or the destination of a 
missing family. The student who looks for clues in the pub- 
lished sources suggested above should be particularly careful 
to examine advertisements in newspapers and to watch for 


significant economic data which will explain the direction in 
which the people of the area were migrating. 

Libraries on the West 

General libraries on the history of the United States and on 
the history of the West are natural keys wherein may be found 
the information one seeks. Remember that without travel, 
through the use of microfilm for study in a library or home, 
the treasures of many can be obtained. 

The Library of Congress Local History and Manuscripts 
Divisions are particularly important to all searchers for their 
wealth of information on the national as well as the local 
scene. Its Union Catalog will locate rare publications in li- 
braries throughout the country, when no example can be found 
in a nearby library. Its newspaper collection is one of the 

The New York Public Library American History and Manu- 
scripts collections are equally as rich as those of the Library 
of Congress. 

Several historical societies bearing the names of their states 
are really devoted to the history of all America. They were 
founded long before the others and the wealth of original 
sources is outstanding, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsyl- 
vania and Wisconsin being pre-eminent. At the last named 
are the Draper manuscripts, one of the best sources relating 
to the settlement and development of the Kentucky-Tennessee 
key area. 

Several libraries have specialized in original sources for all 
the Far West. The Newberry in Chicago also has a genealog- 
ical collection, but the Coe Collection at Yale University, the 
Ellison Collection at Indiana University at Bloomington, the 
Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley, 
the Clarke Collection (important for Montana) at the Uni- 
versity of California at Los Angeles, and the Henry E. Hunt- 
ington Library at San Marino, California, are principally his- 
torical libraries serving the historian and trained social 
scientist. Nevertheless, here may be found the answers to 
many genealogical questions. 


Many state, public and university libraries maintain local 
history if not genealogical collections. A list would be long, 
but should include the Tennessee, Indiana, Oregon and Cali- 
fornia State Libraries, the Sutro Library in San Francisco (a 
state institution), the Los Angeles, and Seattle Public Li- 
braries, and the Wyoming, Washington, Cornell, Duke and 
Oregon University libraries. The American Library Direc- 
tory will guide genealogical inquiries to the right source. The 
larger the local history collection the more likely help is avail- 
able to the searcher. 

Pre-eminent for genealogical research is the Genealogical 
Society at Salt Lake City, where may be found basic records 
not only for the Mormon Church and its members but for 
many eastern states and some western, as well as many foreign 

Historical Societies 

State and local historical societies in many instances main- 
tain important collections. The degree to which they assist 
the genealogist depends upon the value and interest they see in 
such research. The Directory of Historical Societies and 
Agencies in the United States and Canada, published by the 
American Association for State and Local History (1959) will 
furnish addresses and the 1944 edition will furnish data on the 
character of each society and its work. 

Archival Establishments 

The growth of state archival agencies in the United States 
has been slow, but is important to the student of genealogy. 
In the south, many state departments of archives date back to 
the beginning of the century and they recognize the value of 
family research. In the Middle West, Illinois and Indiana are 
well established and most helpful. The others are new, as are 
most of those in the West and their helpfulness will vary ac- 
cording to the available staff and the emphasis placed on 
family history by their directors. The "Annuaire Interna- 
tional des Archives", published as Volume 5 of Archivum in 
1955 is a basic tool for all genealogical workers who wish to 
consult archives all over the world. For the United States, 


the Report of the Committee on State Records of the Society 
of American Archivists for 1957 best summarizes the activi- 
ties of the state archival agencies and will further guide the 
genealogist who wishes to know what to expect. 

Local Records 

The local records of the States of the United States were to 
have been inventoried by the W. P. A. Historical Records Sur- 
vey. In representative counties across the nation their con- 
tents were described and the inventories published. One is in- 
deed fortunate to be able to walk into a court house with such 
a publication at hand, for many custodians have no concept of 
the older records in their custody or where they may be 
stored. The published "inventory" usually provides some sort 
of location guide and with this it is possible to locate essential 
records forgotten or unknown to those who work in the court 
house. In the states where there are active archival pro- 
grams, county records as described in the inventory may now 
be in the state archives. In many states county record de- 
struction laws have been passed and older records may no 
longer exist. Some were undoubtedly useless, but unless the 
destruction has been directed by an archival agency, essential 
records that should have been saved may be gone. Mean- 
while, the Mormon church is recording on microfilm for 
their use and for the use of the state archives, the most valu- 
able county records in each state. In time, we can expect to 
use such materials for all the states, either in the state ar- 
chives or in Salt Lake City at the Genealogical Society head- 
quarters. This library is already becoming the answer to the 
prayer of the genealogist who cannot afford the luxury of 
general travel but can visit and use a single source. 




In the preface to Mile. Jeanne Gregoire's helpful little work 
on genealogical research in Canada, A la Recherche de Nos 
AncetresiGuide du Genealogiste (1957), Father Lionel Groulx 
has written: "La genealogie au Canada Francois n'est pas 
seulement une science; pour le grande nombre, c'est une pas- 

He is quite correct. Genealogy among the French Cana- 
dians is a passion. Alone among all the ten provinces of the 
Dominion, Quebec has developed genealogy to an exact science. 
This is reflected in their numerous publications. The Abbe 
Cyprien Tanguay's Dictionnaire Genealogique des Families 
Canadiennes (7 vols., 1871-96) is a classic, in spite of the fact 
that many errors have been found in it. Tanguay was a 
pioneer in the field, as was Francois Daniel, whose two works, 
Nos Gloires Nationales, ou Histoire des Principales Families 
du Canada (2 vols., 1867) and Histoire des Grandes Families 
Franqaises du Canada, ou Apergu sur le Chevalier Benoist et 
Quelques Families Contemporains (1 vol., 1867) told in con- 
siderable detail the story of Canada's "national glories", the 
great families of Longueuil (LeMoyne), Lotbiniere, Escham- 
bault, Salaberry, and many others. 

In his time, Benjamin Suite was the leading French-Cana- 
dian historian. His Histoire des Canadiens-Frangais, 1608- 
1880 was published in eight impressive volumes (1882-84). 
In this work he gave several complete censuses that were taken 
in the 17th century. The first census in North America was 
that of 1666, printed by Suite in Volume 4, pp. 52-63. It is 
interesting to note the data included in the enumeration; the 
following example was chosen at random: Jacques Cochon 
(which means "pig"), 31, habitant (resident); Barbe-Del- 
phine Le Tardif, 17, sa femme (wife) ; Marie-Magdelaine, 2; 


Jacques, 3; Charles le Tardif, 15, et Guillaume Le Tardif, 
11, pensionnaires (boarders). 

Other scholars who have made important contributions to 
French-Canadian genealogy are: Abbe Charles Beaumont, 
Archives Canadiennes, Genealogie des Families de la Cote de 
Beaupre (1912) ; Rev. Father Archange Godbout, Origine des 
Families Canadiennes-Frangaises (1925) ; and Brother Eloi- 
Gerard, Recueil de Genealogies des Comtes de Beauce-Dor- 
chester-Frontenac, 1625-19^6 (11 vols., 1949-55). In 1909, 
the "Committee of Ancient Families" published Le Livre a" 
Or de la Noblesse Rurale Canadienne-Frangaise, in which they 
listed (pp. 59-124) the families of the Province of Quebec 
which were living in 1908 on the same land their ancestors had 
occupied 200 or more years earlier. 

In 1943, the Societe Genealogique Canadienne-Frangaise 
(French-Canadian Genealogical Society) was founded, and in 
January 1944 appeared the first issue of its Memoires. Since 
then, there has been poured into the pages of this quarterly 
periodical a constant stream of genealogical studies, source 
materials, articles describing methods of research, etc. 

The Province of Ontario has many ties with the United 
States, through the steady immigration in the late 18th and 
early 19th centuries of Loyalists, Quakers, Mennonites, and 
others. From time to time efforts have been made to do 
justice to its families, but many attempts appear to have been 
abortive. Edward Marion Chadwick issued Ontarian Fami- 
lies. Genealogies of United Empire Loyalist and other Pio- 
neer Families of Upper Canada (2 vols., 1898). For a time 
a periodical known as The Ontarian Genealogist and Family 
Historian seemed to hold the spotlight, but it lasted only from 
July 1898 to April 1901. In 1956, George T. Heath founded 
Pedigree: A Genealogical Quarterly, in which he publishes 
articles, source-materials, queries, etc. Its address is P. O. 
Box 456, Hamilton, Ontario. Some years ago an Upper 
Canada Genealogical Society was formed, but it seems to have 
become inactive. 

A truly monumental work, Pioneer Life on the Bay of 
Quinte, Including Genealogies of Old Families and Biographi- 


cal Sketches of Representative Citizens, the author and date 
of which are alike unknown (but published early in the 20th 
century), portrayed (sometimes in romantic language) the 
history of over 280 families on the shores of this bay in Prince 
Edward County, Ontario. 

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are other provinces that 
have ties with the United States since before the Revolutionary 
War. The story of our associations with the former province 
is told by Edward H. West, F. A. S. G., in "Pre-Revolutionary 
Migration to Nova Scotia", National Genealogical Society 
Quarterly, vol. 30, March 1944, and Jean Stephenson, 
F. A. S. G., "The Connecticut Settlement of Nova Scotia Prior 
to the Revolution", in Special Aids to Genealogical Research 
in Northeastern and Central States (Special Publication No. 
16 of the National Genealogical Society, 1957). Other works 
dealing with Nova Scotia that have some genealogical interest 
are Howard Trueman's The Chignecto Isthmus and Its First 
Settlers, and David Allison's History of Nova Scotia (1916), 
vol. Ill (Biographical Volume). 

For New Brunswick, we have the excellent work by Lilian 
M. Beckwith Maxwell, An Outline of the History of Central 
New Brunswick to the Time of Confederation (1937). The 
compiler gives sketches of early settlers and public officials, 
military lists, lists of grantees of land, etc. It has several in- 
dexes, including one of persons. Genealogically, it is impor- 
tant. Other works of value are James Hannay's History of 
New Brunswick (2 vols., 1909) and the Collections of New 
Brunswick Historical Society (3 vols., 1894-1909). 

Newfoundland, England's oldest colony, is Canada's young- 
est province, having been admitted to the Dominion in 1948. 
D. W. Prowse's A History of Newfoundland, from the Eng- 
lish, Colonial, and Foreign Records (1895; 2nd edition, 1896) 
is a hefty volume, replete with names; the descendants of 
Newfoundland families will find much of value in it. 

Prince Edward Island has two books that contain much in- 
formation on its families, namely, Past and Present of Prince 
Edward Island, published under the advisory editorship of 
Hon. D. A. MacKinnon and Hon. A. B. Warburton, which con- 


tains a vast amount of information on individuals and fami- 
lies; and Hebridean Pioneers, by Malcolm A. Macqueen 
(1957), who tells very well the story of the settlers in Prince 
Edward Island from the Highlands and Western Isles of Scot- 

The Province of Manitoba has a wealth of printed material. 
F. H. Schofield's The Story of Manitoba (1913) tells the story 
of its leading citizens in volumes II and III. Another im- 
portant work is Dr. George Bryce's A History of Manitoba, 
Its Resources and People (1906), pages 309-692 being bio- 
graphical. The story of Lord Selkirk's famous Red River 
Settlement, which included Manitoba, Minnesota, and North 
Dakota, will be found in John Perry Pritchard's The Red River 
Valley, 1811-1849 (1942), Dr. George Bryce's The Romantic 
Settlement of Lord Selkirk's Colonists (The Pioneers of 
Manitoba) (1909), and Chester Martin's Red River Settle- 
ment, Papers in the Canadian Archives Relating to the 
Pioneers (1910). 

The western provinces are represented by History of Sas- 
katchewan and the Old North West (2nd ed., 1913) ; The 
Story of Saskatchewan and Its People, by John Hawkes (3 
vols., 1924; vols. II-III biographical); History of the Prov- 
ince of Alberta, by Dr. Archibald Oswald MacRae (2 vols., 
1912, vol I, pp. 475-598, and vol. II biographical) ; History of 
British Columbia, 1792-1887, by Hubert Howe Bancroft 
(1890), containing many names and a good index; and British 
Columbia from the Earliest Times to the Present, by E. O. S. 
Scholefield and F. W. Howay (4 vols., 1914; vols. III-IV bio- 
graphical) . 

It will be noticed that the farther west we go, the fewer 
become the strictly genealogical publications. All of the prov- 
inces have historical societies, both on the provincial and the 
county level, which have published periodicals containing 
much genealogical information, such as church registers, 
family sketches, biographies, etc. 

One of the important migrations to Canada from the United 
States was that of the Pennsylvania Germans ; their story is 
told very thoroughly and with thousands of names mentioned 


in Dr. G. Elmore Reaman's The Trail of the Black Walnut 
(1957) . The Loyalist claims were published in two volumes in 
1904 by the Ontario Bureau of Archives. Gerard Malchelosse, 
F. A. S. G., published an article entitled "Genealogie et 
Genealogistes au Canada", in Les Cahiers des Dix (1948), 
which describes in considerable detail the progress of gene- 
alogical research in the Dominion, both in French and in 
British Canada. 

The sections which follow deal with Quebec, Ontario, and 
Nova Scotia. For a succinct account of repositories of vital 
records, probate records, etc., in the other Canadian provinces, 
the North West Territories, and Yukon Territory, see Noel C. 
Stevenson's Search and Research (2nd ed., 1959), pp 313-323. 


Origins of the Civil State 1 

The institution of the civil state dates from modern times. 
The ancients, even the Greeks and Romans, were hardly con- 
cerned with it. No one ascertained marriages and deaths, al- 
though they inscribed the birth of the children of free citi- 
zens. In the course of the Christian Middle Ages, nothing 
subsisted of this custom and nothing had filled its place. 
About 1400 appeared the parish registers of the Catholic 
clergy. They took the place of the civil state, in France, until 
the Revolution. But still, it was only a matter of baptismal 
registers, the Church having need of them in order to apply 
the canonical laws which prohibited marriages among rel- 

A short time after appeared registers of marriages and 
deaths, but rather in the form of account books of the parish 
priests. It is only later, under Francis I, that the royal ordi- 
nance of Villers-Cotteret stipulated, in 1539, the keeping of 
registers of death and birth, and only in 1579, under Henry 
III, following the recommendations of the Council of Trent, 

x Cf. Herve Roch, Actes et registres de VEtat civil et rectification (Mont- 
real, 1949) ; Mgr. Olivier Maurault, "Le premier registre de l'fitat civil 
de Montreal", in Les Cahiers des Dix, no. 23, 1958. 


the ordinance of Blois demanded the careful maintenance of 
marriage registers. 

Other ordinances followed : First, that of a Paris synod in 
1627, prescribing the signatures of priests, godfathers and 
godmothers and prohibiting erasures and excessive charges; 
then, in 1667, that of Louis XIV requiring the mention, in 
burial records, of the date of death and, in baptismal records, 
of the date of birth, and recommending the maintenance in 
duplicate of the registers; finally, the judgment of Chancel- 
lor d'Aguesseau, under Louis XV, in 1736, rigorously impos- 
ing this time the transcription of the records in two original 
or identical registers initialed by the royal judge, of which one 
remained in the church and the other was to be deposited each 
year in the registrar's office of the community. 

The Registers of the Civil State in New France 

New France and Acadia were submitted to these prescrip- 
tions. This system was continued, among the Roman Cath- 
olics, after the cession of Canada to England, the French civil 
laws having moreover been guaranteed by the Treaty of Paris 
of 1763. 

The arrival of the English and other immigrants neces- 
sitated the application of new arrangements, in a manner to 
benefit the Protestant churches. Thus, in 1795, a first organic 
law imposed on all Protestant churches or congregations of 
the Province of Quebec the obligation to maintain two reg- 
isters, as was the practice among the Roman Catholics. Codi- 
fied in 1861 in the Revised Statutes of Lower Canada, that law 
has become, with certain modifications, the second Title of the 
First Book of the Civil Code of the Province of Quebec, and 
it presently embraces all of the congregations of the United 
Church of England, Scotland, and Ireland, as well as of all 
other religious societies or cults. 

Quebec, founded by Samuel Champlain in 1608, should have 
had its registers of baptisms, marriages and burials from 
that epoch. But, on 15 June 1640, a fire destroyed the Chapel 
of N6tre-Dame-de-Recouvrance, and the registers of the civil 
state were burned in that catastrophe. 


Trois-Rivieres (Three Rivers), founded in 1634, still pos- 
sesses, of its first registers, those of burials since 1634; of 
baptisms since 1635 ; and of marriages from 1654. 

On 17 May 1642, Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, 
debarked at Montreal with fifty colonists. Immediately, the 
first register of the civil state for births was begun ; it covers 
the years 1642-1668. That of marriages began in 1647 and 
continued until 1670. And the first register of burials ex- 
tended without interruption for every year from 1643 to 

Formerly the inhabited part of the country was divided 
into three distinct governments, that of Quebec having at its 
head, the governor general, and those of Trois-Rivieres and 
Montreal having respectively their own governors, appointed 
by the King of France. Until the conquest of 1760, the dupli- 
cates of the parish registers of the colony were preserved in 
the three governments, except those of the upper country — 
Detroit, Michillimackinac, Fort de Chartres, the outposts 
of St. Joseph, St. Philippe, Vincennes, Kaskaskia, etc. Since 
then, here and there floods, humidity, fires, even rats and mice 
have destroyed the registers. Thus, the genealogist is some- 
times halted in his researches by the gaps in the church or the 
registrar's office, often in both places at the same time. As 
to the registers of Acadia, 2 today known as Nova Scotia, they 
disappeared since the expulsion of the Acadians, in 1755, and 
that is why it is so difficult to trace the lines of deported Acad- 
ian families, which we pick up again in the Provinces of 
Quebec and New Brunswick, in Louisiana and in Maine and 
on the Coasts of New England. It is an arduous task and one 
which leads to feeble results. 

Today, the Province of Quebec is divided into 28 judicial 
districts, each with a chief town where are deposited the copies 
of the parish registers of all the churches — Catholic, Prot- 
estant, and others — and it is there that genealogists should 

2 An abstract of the parish registers and of the civil state relative to the 
dispossessed Acadians in the Archives of Canada, at Ottawa, has been 
made by Roger Comeau and published in the Memoir es de la Societe 
genealogique oanadienne-frtungaise, vol. 7, pp. 185-189. 



attempt their first researches, later completing them in the 
parishes where are preserved the original registers in the reg- 
istrar's offices. 

Following is a list of these judicial districts which corre- 
spond to the Bureaus of Vital Statistics in the United States 
and in the other Provinces of the Dominion of Canada : 3 


Chief Towns 

Electoral Districts 



Abitibi-Est and 



Part of Arthabaska, 
Megantic, Drummond. 


St. Joseph-de- 


Beauce, Dorchester, 
part of Frontenac. 

Beauharnois, Chateau- 
guay, Huntingdon 



Missisquoi, Shefford. 


New Carlisle 




Chicoutimi and the 
territory of Mistassini. 



Gaspe, Sles-de-la- 





Labelle or 



St. Jean 


Hull (except the north), 
Papineau (except the 
northwest) . 

Iberville, St. Jean, 

Berthier, L'Assomp- 
tion, Joliette, part 
of Montcalm, part of 

Kamouraska, Temiscouata. 

Labelle, part of Papi- 
neau, part of Hull, 
and the non-organi- 
zed territories. 

Bellechasse, L'Islet, 


8 Revised Statutes of the Province of Quebec, 1941, Chapter XV. 






Chief Toums 

Electoral Districts 



Chambly, Hochelaga, 
Jacques-Cartier, La 
Prairie, Laval, 
Soulanges, Vaudreuil, 
part of Vercheres and 
the city of Montreal. 



Part of Nicolet. 







Quebec-Est Quebec- 

Centre, Quebec-Ouest, 
Saint-Sauveur, Levis, 
Lotbiniere, Mont- 
morency, Portneuf, 
Beaumont-village, St. 



Richelieu, Yamaska, 
part of Vercheres. 



Rimouski, Matane, Mata- 




Rouyn Noranda 


Abitibi-Ouest and 


La Malbaie 
(Murray Bay) 

Charlevoix, Saguenay. 

St. Francois 


Compton, Richmond, Stan 

Wolfe, Sherbrooke, part of 
Frontenac, part of Artha- 

St. Hyacinthe St. Hyacinthe Bagot, Rouville, St. Hyacinthe. 

Terrebonne St. Jerome Argenteuil, Terrebonne, 


Trois-Rivieres Trois- Champlain, St. Maurice, Trois- 

Rivieres Rivieres, part of Maskinonge. 

Temiscamingue Ville-Marie Teimscamingue and territories. 


As a complement to this list, one may consult with profit 
the Dictionnaire historique et geographique des paroisses, mis- 
sions et municipalites de la Province de Quebec, by Hormisdas 
Magnan (1925), the work of C.-E. Deschamps entitled Munic- 
ipalites et paroisses dans la Province de Quebec (1896), and 
Canada ecclesiastique which gives the date of the canonical 
erection of each parish. 

The Judicial Archives of the District of Montreal 4 

The old Palais de Justice (Palace of Justice), where are 
deposited the judicial archives of the District of Montreal, 
shelters the most important, the most considerable, and the 
richest storehouse of notarial acts and parish registers of the 
Province of Quebec. There are heaped up in the basement, 
in the vaults, in files and on shelves filled with documents, reg- 
isters, dossiers, and maps of all sorts. 

Preserved almost since the foundation of Montreal, these 
archives represent extremely precious assets for the gene- 
alogist. They comprise registers and dossiers of tribunals, 
registers of the civil state, notarial files, lawsuits, and land 
surveys for Montreal, lie Jesus, and the surrounding parishes. 

In the City of Montreal there are now 175 Catholic parishes, 
of which the registers of the oldest, Notre-Dame, began in 
1642. The establishment of parishes or religious denomina- 
tions around Montreal followed: Boucherville, Contrecoeur, 
Sault-Saint-Louis, vulgo Caughnawaga, all founded in 1667- 
68. In 1864, when Notre-Dame Parish was divided, addi- 
tional parishes in the City of Montreal appeared : St. Vincent- 
de-Paul, Ste. Brigide, St. Pierre, etc. and from 33 parishes 
existing in 1874 the Diocese of Montreal now has in the City 
nearly 175 parishes or churches, and about 60 others on Isle 
Jesus and vicinity. 

A detailed inventory of the registers of the Civil State pre- 
served in the files of the Judicial Archives of the District of 
Quebec was published by Pierre-Georges Roy in 1921. 

* For the Judicial Archives of Montreal, see E.-Z. Massicotte, Bulletin des 
recherckes hdstoriques, vol. 32, 1926; Marechal Nantel, La Revue du 
Barreau, Montreal, Feb. 1946. 


Research Permits and Fees 

Any person of Canadian or American origin wishing to con- 
sult the registers of the civil state in the Province of Quebec 
must first fulfill a formality. A permit for research purposes 
will be accorded him if he requests it in writing to the De- 
partment of the Procuror General (Departement du Procureur 
General), at the Hotel du Gouvernement, Quebec, specifying 
the type of researches he desires to make and at what judicial 
office these researches will be made. Once in possession of 
this permit, which will serve as a pass for him, the researcher 
can present himself at the registrar's office where the deputy 
prothonotary or the archivist or his assistant will be pleased 
to assist him in the mazes of his archives. 

If it is a matter of making researches in the registers of a 
parish church, the researcher must solicit authorization from 
the priest (cure). For those who desire to obtain by corre- 
spondence copies of acts of baptisms, marriages or burials, the 
fees are ordinarily $1.00 per act (record), whether in the ar- 
chives of the tribunals or in the churches. A document is 
authenticated by the seal of the parish or the tribunal. 

Manuscript Sources 

Sources of genealogical and historical documentation may be 
classified in two distinct divisions: (1) Manuscript sources, 
and (2), printed sources, i. e., books and brochures. 

The manuscript sources are further subdivided into six cate- 
gories, as follows : 

(1) Registers of baptisms, marriages and burials of the 
civil state ; registers of confirmation. It is noted that the reg- 
isters of adjuration, if they really existed under the French 
regime, have disappeared from the archives. 

(2) The notarial files : Marriage contracts, donations, wills, 
concessions, sales, inventories, engagements of servants, etc. 
The files of deceased notaries or those who no longer practice 
are generally deposited in the office of the judicial district. 5 

5 A compilation concerning practicing notaries and notaries whose files 
have been deposited in the vaults of the different judicial districts of the 
Province of Quebec was published under the title, Tableau de VOrdre des 
notaires de la Province de Quebec (Montreal, 1942). 


(3) Administrative dossiers deposited in the Provincial Ar- 
chives at Quebec. 

(4) Documents deposited in the Archives of Canada at 

(5) French records: National Archives at Paris; the d' 
Hozier collection ; the archives of the Colonies and of the de- 
partments of War and the Navy; departmental or communal 
archives; notarial minutes at La Rochelle and other towns. 
(See the chapter on France.) 

(6) Private manuscripts: Archives of communities, hos- 
pitals, archbishoprics, bishoprics, parishes, seminaries; ar- 
chives of historical and other societies; archives of libraries 
and museums ; family archives. 

The Archives of the Province of Quebec. 6 — The principal 
series of documents of the French regime preserved in the 
Provincial Archives of Quebec are: The judgments and de- 
liberations of the Sovereign Council, 1663-1760; the insinua- 
tions of the Sovereign Council ; the papers of various govern- 
mental departments of the Province (such as the Admiralty) ; 
an important collection of judical, notarial, etc., pieces, col- 
lected by Phileas Gagnon and comprising 6,000 pieces; regis- 
ters of permits to travel to the West; 7 judicial dossiers; mili- 
tary documents ; and many others. 

Registers and Marriage Records in the Archives of Canada. 
— The Archives of the Dominion of Canada at Ottawa contain, 
in addition to a great series of public documents, original 
parish registers and transcripts of registers, including those 
of Pontchartrain de Detroit, 1703-1818 (2 vols.) ; the Illinois 
and Arkansas country — Notre-Dame de Tlmmaculee-Concep- 
tion, Chartres, Kaskaskia, St. Philippe, St. Joseph (Michigan), 
1695-1834 (2 vols.) ; St. Ignace de Michillimackinac, 1695- 

6 Of. Pierre-Georges Roy, Les Archives de la Province de Quebec et nos 
inventaires, Montreal, 1926; Fernand Ouellet, UHistoire des Archives du 
Gouvemement en Nouvelle -France, Quebec, 1958. 

7 A list of these permits to travel in the West for the years 1670-1821 
will be found in the Rapports de VArchiviste de la Province de Quebec, 
1921-22, 1929-30, 1930-31, 1942-43, 1943-44, 1944-45, 1945-46. 


1790 ; and three Louisiana parishes, of which the earliest, that 
of Mobile, covers the years 1704-64. 

The Dominion Archives has indexes of marriages for a large 
number of Roman Catholic and some Anglican and Presby- 
terian churches, as well as the Indian mission at St. Regis. 
The oldest marriage record index is that of the Boucherville 
church, 1677-1739. The Archives also possesses indexes of 
marriage records of the old families of Detroit for the period 

Printed Sources 

The printed sources can be divided into numerous categories, 
such as the publications of the Archives of Canada and of the 
Provincial Archives of Quebec; the censuses; genealogical 
dictionaries; family genealogies; parish monographs, etc. 

Publications of the Archives of Canada. — The first reviews 
of the activities of the Archives of Canada appeared in the 
Sessional Papers, from 1872 to 1881. Beginning in 1882, they 
were the subject of the more important Annual Reports, 
printed in French and English. With the new Archivist, Mr. 
Kaye Lamb, the formula was modified in 1950. About twenty 
provisional inventories of the different classes of manuscripts 
have been published and have proved to be very useful. 

The Annual Reports, published almost without interruption 
from 1882 to 1949, form about 50 volumes ; those from 1884 to 
1896 are devoted to the famous Haldimand collection of docu- 
ments ; the two volumes of 1905 contain Placide Gaudet's Gene- 
alogies acadiennes, the Genealogies des families de Vile d' Or- 
leans, by Abbe Forgues, and Genealogies de la Beauce, by 
Abbe Beaumont. 

Publications of the Provincial Archives of Quebec. — The 
principal publications of the Archives of the Province of 
Quebec include the Archivist's Rapports (Reports) in 39 an- 
nual volumes, published since 1920 by Pierre-Georges Roy and 
continued by his son, Antoine Roy, who succeeded him as 
Archivist in 1947; Inventaire d'une collection de pieces judi- 
caires, notariales, etc. (2 vols., 1917) ; Lettres de noblesse, 
genealogies, erections de comtes et baronnies insinuees par le 


Conseil souverain de la Nouvelle-F ranee (2 vols., 1920) ; In- 
ventaire des Testaments, Donations, et Inventaires du regime 
frangais (3 vols., 1941) ; Inventaire des Greffes des notaires 
du regime frangais (18 vols., 1942-57) ; and Inventaire des 
Contrats de Mariages du regime frangais (6 vols., 1937-38). 

Before the establishment of the Bureau of Archives by 
Pierre-Georges Roy in 1920, the government of Lower Canada 
(1791-1840), then that of the Union (1841-1867), and finally 
that of the present Province of Quebec, published a number of 
important works, including: Edits, ordonnances royaux, de- 
clarations et arrets du conseil d'Etat du Roi concemant le 
Canada (2 vols., 1803-6) ; Jugements et Deliberations du 
Conseil Souverain de la Nouvelle-F ranee (6 vols., 1885) ; and 
Lists of Lands granted by the Crown in the Province of 
Quebec, from 1763 to 1890 (1891). 

The Censuses 

The censuses are of extreme importance in genealogical re- 
search in French Canada, because they complete the gaps in 
many cases, enable one to discover new figures in the ancestral 
line, and finally, often swarm with very useful information. 

The first enumeration was made in New France in 1666. 
It was followed by those of 1667 and 1681. They were printed 
in Benjamin Suite's Histoire des Canadiens frangais, vols. 
IV-V. The census of 1666 is also found in the Rapport de 
VArchiviste de la Province de Quebec for 1935-36. 

The census of the town of Quebec for 1716, street for street, 
house for house, was published by Abbe L. Beaudet in 1887. 
Other census records, for the towns of Quebec, Montreal, and 
Trois-Rivieres were published in the Rapports de VArchiviste 
de la Province de Quebec for 1925-26, 1936-37, 1939-40, 1946- 
47, and 1948-49. An unedited census of Montreal of 1741, 
found in the Judicial Archives there, was published with com- 
mentary by E.-Z. Massicotte in the Memoir es de la Societe 
royale du Canada, in 1921. 

Mgr. Tanguay's Genealogical Dictionary 

In French Canada, as in the United States, genealogical 


studies have developed considerably during the last half cen- 
tury. The reason for this is undoubtedly that the Province 
of Quebec is the only part of America where almost every 
family can retrace its ascendance, from sons to father, to 
the first ancestor who came from Europe. 

This colossal work was undertaken in 1865 by Abbe (later 
Monsignor) Cyprien Tanguay (1819-1902). His Diction- 
naive genealogique des families canadiennes (7 vols., 1871-90) 
gives us today the results of the formidable inquiry which he 
pursued for more than 20 years among the innumerable reg- 
isters of the Quebec parishes. It is one of the greatest 
works in this particular field of historical study. Although 
there were others before him who were interested in the 
study of family histories, it is correct to say that Mgr. Tan- 
guay was the incontestable father of genealogical studies in 
French Canada. He gave the tone and the impetus to this 
dry science an extreme importance for history. 

While thus bestowing upon Mgr. Tanguay's fine work a 
well-merited commendation, it must be stated at the same 
time that the Dictionnaire, for long accepted everywhere with 
confidence, contains errors, gaps, defects of arrangement as 
numerous as its genealogical accounts. Mgr. Tanguay failed 
to notice, in whole or in part, registers of several parishes, 
especially in the Montreal region. In his calculation of miss- 
ing birth dates, he utilized the censuses of 1666 and 1681, but 
not that of 1667, which is considered much more exact. He 
very frequently installs in a family people who were by no 
means related. He gives as the first generation in Canada 
some couples who never came here. The date which he as- 
signs to the burial is often that of the death. The Diction- 
naire's alphabetical principle rests on the men's names. 
Thus, in order to find the names of women, it is necessary to 
consult all of the volumes, page by page. 

Because of the typographical errors and multiple mistakes 
in the Dictionnaire, especially in the early period down to 
1700, a number of persons and organizations since 1935 have 
attempted to revise the work, but the several projects, for 
one reason or another, have been abandoned. One of these, 


Pere Archange Godbout, attempted a resumption of the first 
volume of the Dictionnaire, but on a plan totally different 
from the old one, under the title of Nos Ancetres an XVIIe 
siecle (Our Ancestors in the 17th Century). But he suc- 
ceeded in publishing only the letters A and B. 

Mgr. Tanguay's Continuators 

The gigantic work inaugurated by Mgr. Tanguay has been 
completed up to a certain point by later researchers. Impor- 
tant contributions in the field of French-Canadian genealogy 
have been made by the Sulpician, Francois Daniel, author of 
the Histoire des grandes families francaises au Canada 
(1867) ; Pierre-Georges Roy, who published no fewer than 50 
family studies from 1901 to 1941 ; Pascal Poirier and Placide 
Gaudet, who specialized in Acadian genealogy; the indefatig- 
able Frere Eloi-Gerard Talbot, compiler of marriage records 
of Beauce, Dorchester and Frontenac Counties (11 vols., 1949- 
55) ; and others far too numerous to name in the present 

Specialized periodicals devoted solely to Canadian genea- 
logy are rather rare. At Montreal is published the excellent 
Memoires de la Societe genealogique canadienne-frangaise, 
which has appeared since January 1944. In 1934, Alfred 
Cambray founded at Cap-de-la-Madeleine the Revue d'his- 
toire et de genealogie, but it has had an ephemeral existence. 

* * ♦ * * 

We have sketched briefly the genealogical resources and 
named some of the principal genealogists in the Province of 
Quebec. The richness and fullness of the archives, at Quebec 
as well as at Ottawa, the records of the judicial archives at 
Montreal, Quebec, and Trois-Rivieres, are invaluable, es- 
pecially those of the French regime. By their notarial files, 
their registers of the courts of justice and the civil state, the 
different classes of archives of the Province of Quebec con- 
stitute an inexhaustible mine for the historian, the genealo- 
gist, the economist, and the writer of every kind. 



The present Province of Ontario was the western part of 
Quebec until the passing of the Canada (called Constitu- 
tional) Act of 1791. From 1791 to 1841 the Province was 
called Upper Canada. From 1841 to 1867, the Province was 
called Canada West, being the western half of the Province 
of Canada. The name of Ontario has been used since 1867. 

The earliest personal records available for genealogical re- 
search in Ontario are those which have to do with land. 
When settlement first began in the present Province, land 
boards were set up to review applications. At first, the 
land board at Montreal carried on but when the Loyalist im- 
migration, beginning in 1783, created a demand for more 
machinery, four land boards were set up in the present 
southern Ontario in 1788. It may be said that generally 
speaking the land board records have not come down to us, 
except in the case of those of the district of Hesse which 
comprised the region on the Detroit River. These records 
have been published in the 1905 Report of the Public Ar- 
chives of Ontario. 

After the creation of Upper Canada the land boards were 
superseded by the land committee of the Executive Council, 
which in reality was the Executive Council sitting as a com- 
mittee. An immigrant who came to the Province seeking 
land (and practically all immigrants wanted land) might 
claim on three grounds: (1) as a loyalist; (2) as a settler, 
and (3) as a military claimant. His application took the 
form of a petition to be read to the committee. For gene- 
alogical purposes the petitions of Loyalists are the most use- 
ful as in their case alone was there any point in showing 
family relationships. The reason for this was that sons and 
daughters of Loyalists could claim. Therefore, if an applicant 

* This section was prepared in 1947, when it was planned to bring out 
the book. Due to the pressures under which we are presently operating 
to publish the volume this year (1959), we were unable to submit the 
section to the author for a complete revision. At the time he wrote the 
section, the author received advice and information from Miss Helen 
McClung, then Provincial Archivist of Ontario, and Norman Fee, 
formerly Assistant Dominion Archivist. ED. 


could prove his relationship to an accredited Loyalist his path 
was easy. When the applicant was a settler or a military 
claimant indication of relationship to another person served 
no useful purpose. The petitions for land are preserved in 
the Public Archives of Canada, at Ottawa. 

The petition having been read, and approved, the claimant 
was given an Order-in-Council. This he or his agent took to 
the surveyor-general's office in York (now Toronto). Here 
the applicant received a location ticket which described the 
land on which he was to settle. With a copy of his Order- 
in-Council and his location ticket the would-be settler went 
to the land agent nearest to his location and found out where 
to go. Once settled on his land the settler set out to fulfill his 
settlement duties. These consisted of clearing and fencing a 
certain number of acres, building a log house, and clearing 
a certain length of road. With his settlement duties per- 
formed the settler reported to a nearby justice of the peace 
who inspected the improvements and gave a certificate. 

Armed with his Order-in-Council, his location ticket, and 
certificate of settlement duties performed, the settler or his 
agent returned to the Crown Lands Department where a 
patent was issued. This patent, or deed, in the early years 
was made of vellum, to which a large seal of wax was at- 
tached by a piece of tape. 

When the patent was issued, three copies were made, one 
went to the settler, one went to the local registry office, and 
one remained with the Crown Lands Department, where it 
was given a number and was bound in the Domesday Book. 
The date of the patent had little if any relationship to the date 
of original settlement. A settler might perform his settle- 
ment duties in a few months or several years. 

Now, the question may be asked, "Where are all the records 
covering the transactions described?" The petitions, as al- 
ready stated, are in the Public Archives of Canada in Ottawa, 
but the key to these is to be found in the minutes of the land 
committee of the Executive Council. These minutes are called 
Land Books and are designated by letter: Land Book C 


or Land Book D, etc. The originals are in the Public Ar- 
chives of Canada and clear photostatic copies are preserved 
in the Archives of Ontario. Each volume has all names in- 
dexed to the first letter. Consequently, searches through 
these volumes are tedious but feasible. The minutes give the 
date of the Order-in-Council, the kind of claimant, whether 
U. E. (United Empire, i.e. Loyalist), Military, or Settler. 
If a son or daughter of a Loyalist, the relationship will be 
given. Since the petitions for land are filed in date order in 
Ottawa, the date of the Order-in-Council, sent to the Public 
Archives of Canada, should produce a copy of the petition, 
which may or may not contain important information. Usu- 
ally, the petition was a formal document, but some of the 
early loyalist petitions give much detail of activity in the 
royal cause. Incidentally, even if the petition was refused, 
the fact was recorded and the petition was filed as above. 

The patents or deeds give little information but they do 
prove that a certain person lived on a certain parcel of land 
long enough to perform the settlement duties. The patents 
are listed in the Register of Patents preserved in the Crown 
Lands Office, Parliament Buildings, Toronto. All entries are 
made under township, concession, and lot; and the volumes 
are not indexed. Consequently, if a researcher does not know 
the township in which the person in whom he is interested 
lived, his chances of finding anything in the Register of 
Patents is slim. At the end of each entry in the Register is 
a number. This leads to the office copy of the patent pre- 
served in the Domesday Book. 

Manifestly, an index of patents would be invaluable for 
tracing the existence of persons, especially when, in the early 
days of the Province, almost every resident was a land holder. 
It is not generally known, but there are preserved in the 
office of the Provincial Secretary, Parliament Buildings, 
Toronto, indexes to all patents issued, whether for land or 
other purposes. The use of these indexes is restricted, but 
researchers who find themselves in Toronto can inquire about 


them. These indexes serve as a key to the area in which a 
person settled and thus limit the region of the search which, 
as will be shown below, must, in Ontario, generally be con- 
tinued in local registry offices. 

When once the crown had alienated land by issuing a patent 
its interest was gone. Subsequent transfers are recorded in 
the local registry offices. Furthermore, any search for per- 
sons who bought land from individual owners obviously must 
begin in a local registry office. A list of local registrars is to 
be found in the Canadian Almanac for any year. It is in- 
dexed under "Registrars of Deeds, Ontario". 

Parenthetically, it might be added that there are three areas 
in Ontario where the crown lands records are barren. In 
1826 the Canada Company was incorporated to sell one mil- 
lion acres of land, largely in the present county of Huron. 
Consequently, the first entry on any lot in this region is the 
original transfer from the Crown to the Canada Company. 
Any personal information must be taken from the first trans- 
fer from the Company to an individual. The records of the 
Canada Company have been transferred in recent years from 
the offices of the Company and the Canadian Archives to a 
single repository, the Provincial Archives of Ontario. 

Likewise, when Great Britain acquired Canada by the 
treaty of Paris, 1763, individual French titles were protected. 
There were two seigneuries in the present Ontario, one in the 
neighborhood of Windsor and the other on the Ottawa River, 
the seigneuries of Baby and L'Orignal, respectively. Conse- 
quently, these parcels of land were never British crown land 
and so the first personal entry will be in the local registry 

The clergy reserves also complicate the picture. In 1791 
under the terms of the Canada Act, when a parcel of land was 
granted, an area equal to one-seventh of the land granted was 
set aside for the support of a Protestant clergy. However, 
these lands seem to have been leased and sold through the 


Crown Lands Department and so can be treated as other 
crown lands. 1 

In 1805, an act was passed by the legislature of Upper 
Canada "to afford relief" to those persons who might be en- 
titled to claim lands in the Province as "Heirs or Devisees 
of the Nominees of the Crown" in cases where no patent had 
been issued (45 Geo. Ill, chap. II). The Act was renewed 
several times. Manifestly, the records of the Heir and 
Devisee Commission set up under the Act would be of 
inestimable value in genealogical research for, in many cases, 
extensive genealogical information must have been received 
and passed on. But, unfortunately, the records do not seem 
to have been preserved. 

Following the Loyalist immigration, which technically 
ended in 1798, and to a certain extent contemporary with it, 
many Americans entered Upper Canada as settlers. One 
colorful group was to be found in the German speaking 
settlers who opened up Waterloo County. Many Quakers also 
immigrated. Following the War of 1812, various settle- 
ments of disbanded British soldiers were set up. In the 
1830's and 1840*3, there was an extensive Irish immigration. 
In the 1850's, a second German immigration developed around 
the original settlement of fifty years before. These various 
groups fitted into the land grant picture just as did the earli- 
est settlers and no special records were created by their 
presence. One exception is to be found in the records of 
Quaker meetings, which are preserved in the library of the 
University of Western Ontario. Dr. A. G. Dorland, head of 
the Department of History, is the official curator but mani- 
festly cannot undertake research. Permission to use these rec- 
ords must be obtained from Professor Dorland. 

Searches in local registry offices require a small fee for 
each docket. However, if the location of a person's land is 
known the fee is negligible as in some cases much genealogi- 

1 In a recent letter the author informed the editor: "Since I wrote the 
manuscript, a great deal of work has been done on the clergy reserves. 
I believe that today a student could achieve some success in looking 
up clergy reserve records in the Ontario Archives". 


cal information may be obtained, such as death of owner, 
transfer to sons, and so on. 

Wills have the same value in genealogical research in 
Ontario as they have in other places. With the exception of 
some early wills preserved in Osgoode Hall, Toronto, all wills 
are filed with the surrogate registrar in the county town. 
The Canadian Almanac lists surrogate registrars. The in- 
dex under "Registrars, Surrogate, Ontario" shows where to 

Assessment rolls are invaluable for genealogical research 
but, unfortunately, relatively few have been preserved. The 
Public Archives of Ontario possesses rolls for many of the 
townships of Eastern Ontario, the Hamilton Public Library 
has some rolls for certain townships in Wentworth County, 
and the library of the University of Western Ontario has 
some of the rolls of the townships of Huron County. These 
rolls give much information such as acres cleared and un- 
cleared, cattle, horses, type of house and best of all, children 
under 16 and over 16, with the sex. In some cases, Christian 
names are given. 

The Public Archives of Canada has the early census up to 
and including the year 1871. They are retained in the same 
condition in which they were originally filed, i. e., by provinces, 
counties, townships and localities. It is not very difficult 
to make a search provided you know the name of the person 
and the locality in which that person lived. 2 

Parish registers containing records of births, marriages 
and deaths are few and far between. Some are preserved in 
the Public Archives of Ontario, or the synod offices of various 
Church of England dioceses and churches. Several have been 
printed in the Papers and Records of the Ontario Historical 

When a search for an individual has narrowed down to a 
region, frequently the researcher is forced to work through 

2 The Public Archives of Canada has microfilmed the early census records 
which they possess, and consequently students now can consult them with 
very little difficulty. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 
has microfilmed a great mass of genealogical records in Ontario. 


miscellaneous material. Publications of local historical 
societies cannot be ignored. The Niagara Historical Society, 
particularly, in its series of publications, has printed bio- 
graphical material and has two series of records copied from 
gravestones. As in other regions, various municipal, county, 
and provincial directories, historical atlases, etc., give names. 
The appendices to the Journals of Upper Canada have some 
lists of patents granted in the 1830's. 

Newspaper files are extremely broken but if an early news- 
paper file is available a researcher can expect to find the same 
kind of records as he would find in, say, a file of a newspaper 
in northern New York of the corresponding period. 

Official registration of births, marriages, and deaths did 
not begin in Ontario until 1869 (with the exception of some 
official lists of marriages in the 1850's) a fact which forces 
persons interested in genealogical research to turn to all kinds 
of sources to find what they want. Request for information 
subsequent to 1869 should be addressed to the Registrar 
General, Parliament Buildings, Toronto, Canada. Here are 
such of the marriage lists referred to above as have been pre- 
served; they are indexed. 


These two Canadian Provinces were formerly one — Nova 
Scotia, which had the distinction of being settled by the people 
of two nationalities, the French and the British. The French 
made their first settlement as early as 1605 but it was not 
until 1675 that they made permanent settlements which 
flourished until 1755 when the Acadians were driven or car- 
ried out of the Province. At that time, it is estimated 
that there were at least 10,000 inhabitants and most of them 
were deported, but some who hid in the forest survived and 
their descendants are still to be found in both Provinces. 

In 1758, a proclamation was issued from Halifax by Gov. 
Lawrence inviting New Englanders to come and settle on the 
abandoned farms. One year later another proclamation was 
issued giving all Protestants the right to worship as they 


pleased. This proclamation which was sent all over New 
England and to many of the other colonies, started a migra- 
tion from many points, and by 1775 there were nearly 18,000 
inhabitants, some from as far south as Virginia. At the time 
of the War of the Revolution a large number of these people 
sided with the United States and returned, but many re- 
mained although they generally took a very small part in the 

After the war, the Loyalists were brought here, about 
10,000 arriving at Saint John, many others being scattered 
all over the Province. Owing to the difficulties in communi- 
cating with Halifax, it was decided in 1784 to found a new 
province, New Brunswick, with the dividing line running 
through the Chignecto Isthmus. 

The genealogical searcher will have to use great care as 
there are many duplicates of names, for there were more 
migrations than the ones mentioned. In 1773/4 a large 
number of families from Yorkshire came here and besides 
these there were smaller migrations of Scottish, Irish and 

If the searcher knows that the ancestor was one of the first 
settlers, it is advisable to start with the Land Office at Hali- 
fax where there are many lists of men who were granted land. 
The list of grantees of the town of Horton comprises 133 
names while that of Yarmouth on the other hand is divided 
into groups. This list contains the names of 96 New Eng- 
enders, 16 from Halifax, 10 from Philadelphia, and 4 from 
London. A great many of the towns were platted and with 
the list and plat it is easy to find the location of the original 
land of the grantee. To be sure, many of these men did not 
stay or else, not complying with the regulations of the Land 
Office about clearing a certain amount of land each year, their 
land was escheated. 

After completing the search at the Land Office it is best 
to visit the Nova Scotia Archives situated on the campus 
of Dalhousie University at Halifax. Here is to be found 
not only the government archives but also a great deal of 
material for the genealogist. Many of the church records 


have been deposited here, some of them as old as the 
settlement in which the church was situated. There are 
county and family histories in the library as well as a num- 
ber of papers written by the staff. On file is what is left of 
the census records taken in 1770, four towns being included. 
Some of the other records of towns are there, in varying 
dates, up to 1800. Later census records are very scarce. 
There is also a large file of Nova Scotia newspapers in this 

The Board of Vital Statistics is also in Halifax. The 
marriage records begin as early as 1763 but are incomplete 
up to 1864. The birth and death records began in 1864 but 
were discontinued from 1876 to 1908. The approximate date 
and the name of the county are necessary for a search. 

The Land Office of New Brunswick is at Fredericton, where 
there are petitions for land and a large number of plats. 
There are also some deeds on file here. 

The Archives of New Brunswick are at Saint John, but 
it is probable that the great fire of 1877 destroyed many of 
the early papers. 

The Vital Records of New Brunswick do not commence 
until 1920. Although marriage records were made much 
earlier they are unfiled and unindexed, being stored away in 
different parts of the Province. The marriage records of 
Saint John which were not destroyed by the fire of 1877 are 
in the custody of B. L. Gerrow, Attorney, Saint John. 

The land and probate records of both provinces are to be 
found in the county seats and differ very little from those 
of this country. There is a difference which any one from 
the United States will notice and that is the charge for search- 
ing the records. This varies with the different counties, 
sometimes it is a fixed charge and sometimes a slight charge 
by the hour. 

Most of the churches have their marriage records, some of 
them stored in the vault of the county clerk. 

Cemeteries are everywhere and the stones are generally 
in good condition. In some of the farm and small cemeteries 


where there has been little care the stones are down and one 
must search in the deep grass for them. 

Anyone who has occasion to search around the Chignecto 
Isthmus should visit Fort Beausejour as the museum of that 
place has many family records and papers as well as the 
printed genealogies of many of the families of that district. 

In searching through these two provinces do not be afraid 
to ask questions of the people. The name of the man to 
whom the question is put may be the same; though he de- 
scends from another ancestor the chances are that he can set 
you on the right track. He may even bring out his family 
Bible or history and show just where you are right or wrong. 
Most of the people in both provinces are anxious to accom- 
modate and help the stranger. 

For the benefit of those interested in Nova Scotia families 
who are unable to go to Nova Scotia to work in the original 
records, the following references to sources available in the 
United States covering the period prior to the Revolution will 
be of interest. 

The most valuable source is the series of Reports of the 
Public Archives of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Archives, vol. 
I (1860), lists the original settlers of Halifax, giving name, 
"quality", children and servants, and regiment or ship if the 
settler was a former soldier or sailor. It also contains a list 
of those who settled in the vicinity of Halifax between 1749 
and 1752. 

For the French families that remained after the deporta- 
tion, either because they had taken the oath of allegiance to 
the English Crown, or were absent or "escaped" when the 
deportation was made, the first reference to consult is 
"Acadian Genealogy and Notes", in the Report of the Domin- 
ion Archives, 1905, vol. II. 

Good short historical accounts of the New England settle- 
ments and those financed by Philadelphia merchants are 
"Acadia: The Pre-Loyalist Migration and the Philadelphia 
Plantation", by W. 0. Sawtelle, in the Pennsylvania Maga- 
zine of History and Biography, vol. 51; "The Rhode Island 
Emigration to Nova Scotia", by R. G. Huling, in the Narra- 


gansett Historical Register, vol. 7, and "Rhode Island Settlers 
on French Lands in Nova Scotia in 1760 and 1761", by A.W.H. 
Eaton, in Americana, Vol. X. In addition to the areas indi- 
cated in the titles, these articles give many names of the 
settlers of the "New England Townships" of Horton and 

Census reports for many of the counties during the 1770- 
1775 period are printed in the Report of the Board of Trustees 
of the Public Archives of Nova Scotia for the year 193U. The 
same Report for 1935 gives the German settlers at Lunen- 

The Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society con- 
tain much of interest, for example : vol. 9 tells of the Irish at 
Onslow, vol. 13 the Yorkshire migration at Chignecto, vol. 
15 the English in Cumberland, etc. 

The New England Townships in Nova Scotia kept vital rec- 
ords which, though not wholly complete, are of first im- 
portance. Either originals or transcripts are in Halifax, but 
also originals or transcripts are in the Dominion Archives at 
Ottawa, and transcripts, more or less complete, of those of 
Horton, Cornwallis, Falmouth, Windsor, and Newport are in 
the Eaton Collection in the New England Historic Genealogi- 
cal Society in Boston. 

Parish records of Annapolis Royal and copies of many 
tombstones are in William Inglis Morse's Gravestones of 

During the Revolution, many of the New England settlers 
sided with the Colonies and returned, leaving all their pos- 
sessions behind them. After the close of the war, those who 
applied were granted lands in Maine and Ohio as compensa- 
tion for their losses. For lists of these, see the Bangor His- 
torical Magazine, vol. 9, and American State Papers; Public 
Layids, Vol. I. 

The Crowell Collection in the New England Historic Gene- 
alogical Society in Boston contains many complete pedigrees 
and sketches of New England families that went to Nova 


Scotia, many of which were printed a half century ago in 
various Nova Scotia newspapers. 

A comprehensive bibliography of Nova Scotia prior to 
1783, divided according to unpublished materials, published 
primary records, and secondary sources, is that in John Bart- 
let Brebner's The Neutral Yankees of Nova Scotia. Many 
of the historical and biographical articles listed contain much 
genealogical information. 

Additional printed materials may be located by reference 
to the Index to the Writings on American History, 1902-19 %0, 
under "Nova Scotia", "New Brunswick", and "Loyalists". 
With respect to the latter, do not overlook the Loyalist Claims 
in the Second Report of the Bureau of Archives of the 
Province of Ontario, 190 Jf. (Also of interest will be the de- 
scription of "Records of the American Loyalist Claims in the 
Public Record Office", by Roger H. Ellis, in The Genealogists' 
Magazine, September and December 1957 and March 1958.) 

Part 4 




Feudal Genealogy Defined 

Feudal Genealogy deals with the genealogy of those fami- 
lies which held their lands by frank tenure, that is by knights' 
service, sergeanty, thanage, cornage, etc., between 1086, when 
the Domesday Book was compiled, as only a few English pedi- 
grees can be traced back of this date, and the great Subsidy 
of 15 Henry VIII (1523/4), which has been happily described 
as the "Domesday Book of the Middle Classes". It is further 
to be observed that in feudal genealogy it is seldom possible 
to obtain, save in the case of a few of the greatest families, a 
complete list of the younger sons and of the daughters, as a re- 
sult of the law of primogeniture. While it is true that a 
great many of these can be placed, and descents from cadets 
who, as was common, received fees which their mother had in- 
herited, or who had made a marriage with an heiress or ob- 
tained eminence in the law or as great merchants, can in 
many instances be fully proved, yet, as a rule, it is only the 
line of the eldest son and heir which can be traced. Con- 
sequently all descents from younger sons should be carefully 
scrutinized to determine the adequacy of the proof offered. 
Although in some cases, when manor court rolls (which are 
private records) exist, pedigrees of the lower social classes 
may be compiled for a few generations (cf. also The Gene- 
alogists' Magazine, Vol. VI, p. 306 sq.), nevertheless con- 
tinuous pedigrees down to today can seldom be compiled. 
Owing to the constant intermixture of the classes, a peculiar 
feature of English mediaeval society, the blood of the feudal 
families is now widely diffused among all classes in England 
and among Americans of English descent. 

Record Sources 

The outstanding feature of feudal genealogy is that, while 
the records upon which it is based are most voluminous, they 


are of an entirely different sort from those employed for the 
construction of pedigrees from the sixteenth century on- 
wards. As in all genealogical work, the descent of land is 
the fundamental base, but while the genealogist of later 
periods relies largely upon wills, deeds, parish registers, and 
records of chancery suits as his principal sources, the mediae- 
val genealogist finds these of little use, with the exception of 
deeds or charters. Parish registers do not exist prior to 
1538, and while the regular series of wills commence at the 
end of the fourteenth century, these are meagre in number 
and content, except in a few counties, such as Kent and Suf- 
folk, prior to the time of Henry VIII. The chancery suits, 
which commence about the same time, are valuable for the 
fifteenth century, but they are not as numerous as they be- 
come later. 

The records relied upon in the feudal period vary in value 
and volume in the different centuries. The twelfth century, 
roughly the period from Domesday to the loss of Normandy 
(1204), is the most difficult period to bridge in feudal work, 
owing to the paucity of the public records prior to the end 
of the century. Many pedigrees, which can be traced to this 
time, end in the return of 1166. With the latter part of the 
reign of Richard I and the commencement of the reign of 
King John (about 1197-1205), the great mass of public rec- 
ords preserved in the Public Record Office at London com- 
mences. These are greatly superior to similar records on the 
Continent and render the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries 
the best for record searching in our period. The fifteenth 
century is marked by a decrease in the volume and value of 
these records, because of the national decline which attended 
the loss of the French provinces, the Wars of the Roses, and 
the social confusion which accompanied the end of the feudal 
period. In this century, the chancery cases and wills begin 
to be of use as do the valuable but little known Pardon Rolls. 

The Twelfth Century 

England has the unique good fortune to possess in the 
Domesday Book an almost complete list of the landowners, 


both tenants in chief and undertenants, arranged geo- 
graphically, rather than feudally. This great inquest, com- 
piled for taxation purposes, is the starting point of English 
feudal genealogy. This has been printed by the British Rec- 
ord Commission. As already stated, from Domesday down 
to the close of the 12th century, the public records are meagre. 
Surviving are partial inquests for Leicestershire, Northamp- 
tonshire, and Lincolnshire, made in the reign of Henry I, but 
there is no general return until the return of 12 Henry II 
(1166) ; this is arranged feudally by the cartae of the tenants 
in chief and their undertenants, rather than geographically. 
This return exists in the Liber Niger printed in the 18th 
century by Hearne and in the Great Red Book of the Ex- 
chequer, which contains this and later inquisitions, such as 
that of 1212. It has been printed in the Rolls Series and 
was edited by the late Hubert Hall. As this edition is not 
wholly accurate, it should be used in conjunction with Dr. 
J. Horace Round's criticism of it. The other great series 
of public records which commence in this period, are the 
Pipe Rolls which record, year by year, the money due the 
Royal Exchequer. These commence in 1154, with one pre- 
vious roll, that of 31 Henry I (1130). Both these and the 
inquisitions above noted are indispensable to the genealogist 
of this period. 

The most important source of genealogical information for 
this period in England, as on the Continent, are the Monastic 
Cartularies or private registries of deeds, compiled by the 
various monastic houses, and such original deeds or charters 
as have come down to us. These give considerable genealog- 
ical information as to the families of the donors and are 
usually followed by later confirmations by the donor's heirs. 
The list of witnesses in these charters are of great value as 
they usually are witnessed by the relatives and tenants of the 
donor or by his overlord. Although usually undated, their date 
can generally be approximated from internal evidence, a proc- 
ess which requires considerable skill. As these cartularies 
fell into private hands in the 16th century many have been lost 
in the succeeding centuries, but a vast number of them still 


survive. The great collection of copies made in the 17th 
century by Garter Dugdale and Roger Dodsworth were 
printed by Dugdale in 1682 in his Monasticon Anglicanum, sl 
new and larger edition of which was printed in the last cen- 
tury. The Public Record Office contains a tremendous num- 
ber of original charters for the entire feudal period and has 
printed eight or nine volumes of abstracts of these, but of 
course the series is as yet incomplete. A great many of the 
monastic cartularies have been printed by the various local 
antiquarian societies and others, but the majority of them 
are not as yet in print. Many of them are in the great col- 
lections of mediaeval manuscripts and records at the British 
Museum, such as the Cottonian Library and the Harleian Col- 
lections. The cartularies are the great source for feudal 
genealogy for the 12th century and are of great use in the 
13th, after which their value to the genealogist decreases as 
the period of donations to the religious houses ended, gener- 
ally speaking, toward the close of the latter century. With 
these and other records, pedigrees can be carried back to the 
tenant in Domesday, but such pedigrees are the exception 
rather than the rule. A great number of pedigrees can be 
traced only into the 12th century. 

The Succeeding Centuries 

With the commencement of the 13th century, the great mass 
of the public records preserved in the Public Record Office 
commences. Adequate abstracts of many of these are in 
print for the 13th and part of the 14th centuries, as the Rec- 
ord Commission and, after them, the Public Record Office, 
have been engaged in their publication for well over one 
hundred years. To list all classes of these records would be 
impossible in a short sketch like the present one, and notice 
will be confined to a few of the more important records, gene- 
alogically speaking. 

The Feet of Fines. — These concern the transfer of lands. They com- 
mence in 1197. 

The Patent Rolls. — Relating to public acts of the Crown. These are 
printed down to 1485. 


The Close Rolls. — Relating to private acts of the Crown. These are 
in print down to about 1440 and their publication still continues. 

The Fine Rolls (not to be confused with the Feet of Fines). — These 
contain records of the fines and feudal dues owing to the Crown and are 
of especial use to the genealogist, as they contain records of the reliefs 
due from the heir upon the death of a tenant. These are published down 
to the latter part of the 14th century and are- still continuing. 

The Charter Rolls. — These contain royal charters and Crown con- 
firmations of previous charters, etc. These inspeximuses of old charters 
are of the utmost value, as they often set out 12th Century and other 
charters, which have not survived otherwise. These are printed well into 
the 14th century and are still continuing. 

Curia Regis Rolls and Assize Rolls. These are the records of court 
cases. The Curia Regis Rolls commence with King John; in the time 
of Edward I, they were divided into the Coram. Rege Rolls (i.e., criminal 
matters) and the Common Pleas (De Banco Rolls). The suits over land 
are of the greatest genealogical value as the pleadings often contain pedi- 
grees of a number of generations, sometimes as many as eight or nine. It 
must be remembered that these are ex parte statements and when they set 
out remote descents must be checked carefully by other contemporary rec- 
ords. Owing to their great volume, this valuable series of records re- 
mains uncalendared and their volume makes the cost of searching them 
prohibitive. To search a given period, clubs are formed and the searcher 
is given the names desired. The late General Wrottlesley printed a great 
number of pedigrees from them in The Genealogist, under the title "Pedi- 
grees from the Plea Rolls". Manuscript abstracts of many of these suits 
made by the late eccentric antiquary, Plantagenet Harrison, are in the 
Legal Room at the Public Record Office. The Assize and Eyre Rolls are 
of like nature and a few have been printed by local societies. 

The Hundred Rolls, which have been printed, commence in the time 
of Edward I and should be consulted. 

The Quo Warranto Rolls. — These consist of inquests into various 
rights claimed by land owners. They commence in the reign of Edward 
I and often contain most valuable data. These have been printed. 

The Inquisitions Post Mortem. — These are one of the most important 
series to a genealogist. They contain a list of fees held by a tenant in 
chief at his death, show how they were held, and give the name and ap- 
proximate age of the heir. They commence in the reign of Henry III 
and so far have been printed down to the middle of the reign of Edward 

Inquisitions. — The general inquisitions into the lands held all over 
the kingdom, such as Domesday, the return of 1166 and the return of 
1212, were continued from time to time, and the various inquisitions, in- 
cluding the great one made in 1242, are contained in the Testa de Nevill, 


compiled in the reign of Edward I. This was printed over one hundred 
years ago by the Record Commission, and recently the Public Record Of- 
fice has brought out a new and more accurate edition under the title of 
Book of Fees. The latter inquests have been published under the title 
of "Feudal Aids." These return the feudal incidents (taxes) owed at 
certain times. They include the return of 1284, of 1302, another of 1316, 
known as the Nomina Villarurn, the one taken in 20 Edward III, as the 
Knighting of the Black Prince (especially good and containing the names 
of the predecessors in title of the tenant) , and one for 1428 which, as was 
to be expected, is somewhat meagre. 

Subsidy Rolls. — These are the lists of those taxed to pay the subsidies 
voted by the Parliament. Commencing with the great subsidies of Ed- 
ward I and ending with the poll tax of Richard II, these are useful lists 
of names. After the poll tax above noted no names are given, merely 
the amounts collected, until we reach the subsidy of 1524 referred to at 
the commencement of this article. 

This is only a very small and imperfect list of some of the 
more important series of public records vital to a genealogist. 
The student in this field can make himself familiar with the 
source record material in our greater libraries, such as the 
Library of Congress, the Newberry Library of Chicago, the 
New York Public Library, the Widener Library at Harvard, 
the Yale University Library, and the Peabody Library in 

Private Records 

Besides the public records above noted, there are enormous 
collections of charters and other mediaeval documents in the 
private muniment rooms of various families. Abstracts of a 
great many of these will be found in the Reports of the Deputy 
Keeper and in the Historical Manuscripts Commission's 


Besides the public and private records, the Chronicles com- 
piled in the various monastic houses are an important source 
of genealogical and biographical information. The value of 
these, of course, varies with the writer. They can usually 
be relied upon for contemporary and local events. Among 
the outstanding chronicles may be noted Orderic Vitalis, for 


England and Normandy in the 11th and early 12th centuries; 
Simeon of Durham, for the same period in the North of Eng- 
land ; William of Malmesbury and Henry of Huntingdon ; and 
for the 13th century, Matthew Paris. Many of the chronicles 
have been printed in the Rolls Series and the student learns 
to appraise them at their proper value. 

Mediaeval Genealogical Compilations 

The Genealogia Fundatoris, which usually appear in the 
cartularies of the various monastic houses must be used with 
great caution and their statements should not be relied upon, 
unless confirmed from other sources, as they are often quite 
careless compilations; of course, some are superior to others. 
On the other hand, the genealogies, unfortunately few in num- 
ber, compiled in the mediaeval period for certain families 
by monastic antiquaries are usually of a high grade and were 
based on record evidence. The pedigrees compiled in the 15th 
century in Northern monastaries for the Nevills and Fitz- 
Hughs are especially noteworthy. The collection of pedi- 
grees for Northern England compiled between 1480 and 1500 
and printed by the Surtees Society under the title of Visita- 
tion of the North are of an especially high degree of accuracy 
and are most valuable as they cover an otherwise difficult 
period, the fifteenth century. On the other hand, the Visita- 
tion Pedigrees compiled by the Tudor and Stuart Heralds, 
with a few exceptions must not be relied upon back of the 
third or fourth generation of the person entering the descent, 
as the work of almost all of the antiquarians of this period 
was uncritical and often downright dishonest. However, 
the work of such men as Robert Glover, Roger Dodsworth, 
Camden, and Dugdale is not open to this stricture; they were 
antiquaries of the first rank. 

Modern Sources 

Much excellent work in printing record material and in 
compiling feudal genealogies has been done in the last 
hundred years with critical ability by the various local 


societies and by scholars of the highest standing. The works 
of J. Horace Round lead the way in mediaeval genealogical 
research and his Peerage and Family History and Peerage 
and Pedigree should be handbooks for the beginner in this 
field. His Calendar of Documents Preserved in France, his 
Feudal England, and his Geoffrey de Mandeville are especially 
useful. Dr. Farrer's Early Yorkshire Charters and his 
Honors and Knights Fees are indispensable books of refer- 

The articles in The Genealogist, the Miscellanea Gene- 
alogica et Heraldica, the Herald and Genealogist, and The 
Ancestor are of the highest quality. The Victoria County 
Histories, The Complete Peerage, and the monumental New 
Complete Peerage are especially to be noted. Among the 
earlier works one should note the various county histories, 
which of course vary in merit, and Dugdale's Baronage, which 
is still, after three centuries, a valuable book of reference. 

This account of feudal genealogy, very sketchily restricted, 
and condensed, touches only too briefly upon some of the most 
important phases of the work, but it should serve the beginner 
in the field as a guide to some of the more important points. 
It is not intended to do more. In closing, it should be noted 
that an ability to read mediaeval Latin, and, to some extent, 
Norman French, is essential to anyone who wishes to engage 
seriously in the construction of a feudal pedigree. 



American genealogists often find it amusing to trace their 
ancestry beyond the settler who came from Europe and, if 
they are so fortunate as to find an immigrant ancestor who be- 
longed or whose forebears belonged to the gentry, it may be 
possible to follow the filiation back through the ranks of the 
nobility to a royal family. Beginners in this field of research 
would do well to read an excellent article by Donald Lines 
Jacobus, "Royal Ancestry", in The American Genealogist, vol. 
9. Mr. Jacobus points out that all of us have an appalling 
number of ancestors if we go back thirty generations, or 
roughly a thousand years, and that it is not unlikely that the 
vast majority of persons of European descent have lines from 
Charlemagne, but for every line of this sort they must possess 
thousands of lines from the freemen and serfs who were con- 
temporary with Charlemagne. It is, of course, impossible 
to trace an ancestral line for a thousand years unless we do 
connect with royalty or the baronage, because in the earlier 
centuries no genealogical records were kept of the common 

In this chapter, we shall, therefore, consider first the 
problems of the American genealogist who wishes to find a 
royal or noble ancestry, and then we shall take up the more 
general topic of royal and noble genealogies, especially in 

It is regrettable that a good deal of nonsense has in the 
past been written concerning the royal and noble ancestry of 
a number of families, not only American but also British and 
continental European. As Milton Rubincam has pointed out, 
the Hungarian house of Esterhazy used to assert that it was 
descended from the grandfather of Adam, the first man. 
Pedigrees only slightly less fabulous appear in lists of Irish, 
Scottish, and Welsh kings, tracing them from Biblical 
characters, Greek mythological figures, or both. The Tolomei 


family of Siena, Italy, used to claim descent from the Ptole- 
mies of Egypt, and the Roman family of Massimo from 
Fabius Maximus Cunctator, who died in 203 B. C. Happily, 
these claims are no longer maintained. In England, it was 
common practice for the heralds in the 16th and 17th cen- 
turies to furnish newly created peers and others with pedi- 
grees stretching back to 1066, which had little or no basis in 
fact, but which were devoutly believed to be true by members 
of the families concerned. A number of these utterly er- 
roneous pedigrees appeared in early issues of the peerages 
by Collins, Playfair, Burke and others, and some of these 
claims have persisted till quite recent times. The United 
States also had its share of foolishness in this regard, and 
here we need only mention Browning's Americans of Royal 
Descent, and David Starr Jordan's Your Family Tree, as ex- 
amples of books to be avoided because of their complete lack 
of critical analysis. There are, regrettably, a number of 
books which belong in the same category. 

Sir William Dugdale (1605-1686), the great British anti- 
quary who wrote the Monasticon Anglicanum, Antiquities of 
Warwickshire, and Baronage of England, deserves a tribute 
for possessing a critical point of view and for being the first 
English author of genealogies to use modern scholarly re- 
search methods. But the amount of information which Dug- 
dale had was, of course, much less than is now available. No 
other British author of comparable critical abilities interested 
himself in the problems of royal and noble genealogy until 
the second half of the 19th century, when a trio appeared 
whose works should be known to all searchers in the field, 
George Edward Cokayne, J. Horace Round, and Oswald Bar- 
ron. Cokayne wrote the Complete Baronetage and the first 
edition of the Complete Peerage, then, with the help of Vicary 
Gibbs and others, he commenced the splendid second edition 
of the Complete Peerage, the first volume of which was pub- 
lished in 1910, and the publication of which is not yet com- 
plete. Round, a great mediaevalist with mordant wit, was 
the author of Geoffrey de Mandeville (1892), Feudal England 
(1895), Studies in Peerage and Family History (1901), 


Peerage and Pedigree (1910), and many other books and 
articles, in which he demolished numbers of fanciful pedi- 
grees stretching back to 1066, which had little or no basis in 
fact. Oswald Barron is known chiefly as the editor of The An- 
cestor, a quarterly review published from 1902 to 1905, con- 
taining many violent though entertaining attacks on the fabu- 
lous, the fabricated, and the fraudulent genealogies of British 
peers and gentry. Due to the work of Cokayne, Round, Barron 
and their followers, recent British genealogical work, partic- 
ularly on the Middle Ages, is far more careful and accurate 
than the work of earlier days. 

Similarly, in the United States we find a group of contem- 
porary genealogists who know how to utilize, and do utilize, 
all of the available source material as well as their own criti- 
cal faculties in establishing a pedigree from a mediaeval royal 
or noble family. The most noteworthy of these genealogists 
are George Andrews Moriarty, Jr., Walter Goodwin Davis, 
and Donald Lines Jacobus. An American who wishes to see 
just how one should go about tracing the descent of a colonial 
New England settler from the great folk of mediaeval Eng- 
land, proving every step of the way, would do well to peruse 
Mr. Moriarty's "The Royal Descent of a New England 
Settler", in the New England Historical and Genealogical 
Register, vol. 79. Mr. Davis* chapters on "Lewis, of Shrews- 
bury," "Marshall, of Shrewsbury," "Mitton, of Weston- 
Under-Lizard," and "Beaumont, of Wednesbury," in his An- 
cestry of Nicholas Davis (1956), which show conclusively 
the line of descent from King Henry III of England to Eliza- 
beth Marshall, wife of Thomas Lewis, who settled in what is 
now Maine in 1631; finally, Mr. Jacobus* Bulkeley Genealogy 
(1933) contains fully documented lines of ancestry going back 
from Rev. Peter Bulkeley, founder of Concord, Mass., and his 
two wives, to a number of royal and noble families. There 
are a number of other works, by the three cited authors and 
by other American writers, which also prove lines of descent 
from European royal and noble families to American settlers, 
but these are listed as samples of excellence. 

Two authors frequently consulted by Americans wishing 


to establish a royal or noble ancestral line are Marcellus D. R. 
von Redlich and Rev. Frederick Lewis Weis. The former 
wrote Pedigrees of Some of the Emperor Charlemagne 1 's De- 
scendants (1941) which, though containing some correct 
lines, is unsatisfactory since no references are cited for state- 
ments. There is a bibliography at the end of the book, con- 
taining good, middling, and bad works, with no indication of 
which books pertain to which pedigrees. Dr. Weis is the 
author of Ancestral Roots of Sixty New England Colonists 
(1950), a Supplement thereto (1952), and The Magna Charta 
Sureties (1955). These are far better than von Redlich's 
work, and Dr. Weis has made an attempt to cite authorities 
for his statements. Yet, there are in these books too many 
errors for comfort, and the interested searcher should study 
the reviews in The American Genealogist, vols. 28, 31, and 32, 
and in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. 44, 
p. 36. 

In the foregoing paragraphs, an attempt is made to point 
out to American seekers for royal and noble lines the chief 
models to be followed and some of the pitfalls to be avoided. 
Now come the questions of where and how the constructive 
searches should be made. First of all, the seeker should 
plan to spend time in one or more of the great American 
libraries. There are a number of libraries in the United 
States which are rich in material on British genealogy, 
but there are fewer that have a wealth of books pertaining to 
continental European genealogy. The searcher must remem- 
ber that even though his sought-for line of noble ancestry may 
begin in Britain, it will very soon lead to the continent of 
Europe, and thus to books in languages other than English. 

The first category of works to consult are the various en- 
cyclopedias and biographical dictionaries. The Dictionary of 
National Biography contains excellent articles on all impor- 
tant British royal and noble personages; the Allgemeine 
Deutsche Biographie performs the same function for person- 
ages who lived in the area comprised in pre-1918 Germany 
and Austria. For France, there are two 19th century bio- 
graphical dictionaries, those of Didot and Michaud, as well 


as a new Dictionnaire de biographie francaise, begun in 1933, 
but which, by 1959, has only reached the letter "C". For 
Italy, there is the Enciclopedia Italiana, containing bio- 
graphic sketches of all important Italians, and, in vol. 30, the 
best genealogical, historical and biographical account of the 
House of Savoy. Similar works are in existence for nearly 
every European country and race, though the rarer ones may 
only be found in the larger libraries. Most of these works 
contain some account of the family of each individual men- 
tioned, as well as bibliographies after each sketch. 

Next, we come to the category of Ancestor Tables. Here, 
continental Europeans, and above all Germans, far surpass 
the British in expertness and fecundity. Beginning with 
Eyzinger's Thesaurus principum (1591), more and more ac- 
curate Ancestor Tables of European and usually central 
European royal and noble personages were constantly pub- 
lished. We cite here only a few: Philipp Jakob Spener, a 
noted theologian who was also an excellent genealogist, com- 
piled his Theatrum nobilitatis europaeae between 1668 and 
1678. J. Seifert's Ahnentafeln in 5 volumes appeared 1715- 
1722. L. Le Blonde Quartiers genealogiques, 2d ed., was 
printed in 1773. Stephen Kekule von Stradonitz's Ahnen- 
taf el-Atlas was published in Berlin, 1898-1904, and contained 
seven generations of the ancestors of each sovereign and con- 
sort of a sovereign living in Europe in 1898, together with 
full information on birth, marriage and death of each indi- 
vidual, as far as such information could be ascertained. In 
this work, furthermore, the author established the numbering 
system for Ancestor Tables that has since become standard, 
the probans or subject being numbered 1, his father 2, his 
mother 3, and so on. Baron Otto von Dungern published 
his Ahnen deutscher Fiirsten: Hohenzollern in 1906, con- 
taining Ancestor Tables of ruling members of the Hohen- 
zollern family. This special topic was expanded by Prince 
Wilhelm Karl von Isenburg, who, in 1931, published Die Ah- 
nen der Deutschen Kaiser, Konige, und ihrer Gemahlinnen 
(Ancestor Tables of the German Emperors, Kings, and their 
wives), and, in 1938, he followed this with Ahnentafeln der 


Regenten Europas und ihrer Gemahlinnen (Ancestor Tables 
of the Rulers of Europe and their wives). Baron M. de 
Troostenbergh compiled a Recueil des quartiers de noblesse 
des families beiges, 2 vols. (1912-1914). In Germany, there 
was a spate of Ancestor Tables in the period 1925-1944. 
Collections called Ahnentafeln der EDDA, or Ancestor Tables 
of contemporary German nobles, appeared in 4 volumes, 1925- 
39, and the Ahnentafeln beruhmter Deutscher, or Ancestor 
Tables of famous Germans, was printed in 6 volumes, 1929-44. 
In Switzerland, J. A. Zwicky von Gauen published two series, 
Sammlung schweizer Ahnentafeln (1939), and Ahnentafeln 
beruhmter Schweizer (1942). 

In addition to the foregoing collections of Ancestor Tables, 
there are volumes devoted to the ancestry of a single individ- 
ual. Here again continental, and especially German, works 
predominate. Baron A. A. von Malzahn wrote U096 Ahnen 
Kaiser Wilhelms II (1911) ; Dr. W. H. Hammann compiled a 
book in 1913 on the Ancestor Tables of Prince Wilhelm Karl 
von Isenburg to the number of 4096, and, in 1925, Prince von 
Isenburg himself published a great work, Meine Ahnen (My 
Ancestors), an enlargement of Hammann's book to the num- 
ber of 16,383 ancestors. The celebrated Dr. Erich Branden- 
burg compiled extensive Ancestor Tables of Frederick the 
Great of Prussia (1934), the Empress Maria Theresa (1937), 
Augustus the Strong of Saxony (1937), and of Goethe's 
patron, Karl August of Sachsen-Weimar (1943). Even more 
remarkable than all these is the Ahnentafel Rubel-Blass by E. 
Rubel and W. H. Ruoff (2 vols., 1939), tracing all discover- 
able ancestors of a Swiss famity, some members of which 
live in Brookline, Mass. Though neither the Rubel nor the 
Blass families are noble, they had noble and royal ancestors, 
all of whom are traced with the greatest care and by citation 
of evidence to the early Middle Ages. Somewhat briefer in 
compass are Otto Forst-Battaglia, Ahnentafel des Erzherzogs 
Franz Ferdinand (1910), an Ancestor Table to the number 
1024 of the Archduke who was murdered at Sarajevo in 1914, 
and Pere Cherubin de Renaix; Tableau des 102U quartiers du 


Due de Croy (1924), and Tableau des 102U quartiers du Due 
d'Arenberg (1931). 

Royal Ancestor Tables have not heretofore been quite as 
popular in the English-speaking world as on the continent of 
Europe. To be sure, G. R. French published The Ancestors 
of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (1841), which traces 
these ancestors to the number 1024. The best-known printed 
work of this sort in English is Lt. Col. W. H. Turton, Plan- 
tagenet Ancestry (1928), an attempt to trace all the known 
ancestors of Elizabeth of York (1465-1503), wife of King 
Henry VII of England. Turton was moderately successful 
with the generations of ancestors closest to Elizabeth of York 
(although even here he had trouble with the rather obscure 
Wydeville ancestors), but he went far astray with the early 
mediaeval lines and committed many errors. Fortunately, 
George Andrews Moriarty, Jr., has revised that part of Tur- 
ton's work which deals with the ancestry of King Edward 
III of England and his wife, Philippa, of Hainaut; this re- 
vision, though still in manuscript, has been microfilmed by 
the Harvard University Library, and copies of the micro- 
film are available from that library. It is reported that 
Sir R. I. K. Moncreiffe, Bt., Unicorn Pursuivant-at-Arms, is 
working on a complete Ancestor Table of Charles, Prince of 
Wales and Duke of Cornwall, son of Queen Elizabeth II and 
Prince Philip. Should this work be published, it will be the 
most stupendous of its kind. 

The third category to consider is that of general Genealogi- 
cal Tables of European royal and noble families. Early 
works of this sort appeared in the 16th century, but they were 
inaccurate and have been completely superseded by later 
works. The first important opus of this type is Johannes 
Hubner, Genealogische Tabellen . . zur Erlauterung der politi- 
schen Historie, 3 vols., Leipzig, 1725-28. The first volume 
contains 333 tables, beginning with Adam and the Biblical 
patriarchs, continuing through the kings and leaders of the 
Jews, the monarchs of the Ancient Near East, Roman Em- 
perors and barbarian rulers, Merovingians, Carolingians, and 
dynasts of all Europe in the Middle Ages. In all these 


tables, Hiibner's work is quite incomplete and, in some places, 
incorrect. But, beginning about 1400, Hiibner's information 
is very accurate, especially for German families, and it so 
continues down to the date of publication. The second and 
third volumes of Hiibner's series are devoted to German 
counts, and here also the information from 1400 to 1725 is 
very good. Shortly after Hiibner's work there appeared the 
first book of this type in English, James Anderson, Royal 
Genealogies (2nd ed., 1736). Like Hubner, Anderson is poor 
for early pedigrees, and he includes the fabulous ancestries 
of the early Irish and Welsh kings (which Hubner does not). 
But Anderson himself points out that the early pedigrees of 
the Irish monarchs are fabulous (see discussion by Donald 
Lines Jacobus, "Kings of Ireland," The American Gene- 
alogist, vol. 9). Anderson is rather better than Hubner on 
Spanish, Portuguese and Italian families; both Hubner and 
Anderson are poor on Russian, Polish and other eastern 
European dynasties. 

Later important manuals of royal genealogy include An- 
tonio Chiusole, La genealogia moderna delle case piit illustri 
di tutto il mondo (Venice, 1746), which, while stressing 
Italian families actually does contain noble pedigrees from 
all Europe, including the British peerage; T. G. Voigtel, 
Stammtaf eln zur Geschichte der europaischen Staaten (1811), 
with 2nd enlarged edition by Ludwig A. Cohn (1871). Fr. 
Brommel, Genealogische Tabellen zur Geschichte des Mittelal- 
ters (1846) is of special use for the Middle Ages. Kamill 
von Behr, Genealogie der in Europa regierenden Fursten- 
hduser (2nd ed., 1870, with supplement, 1890) is wonderfully 
accurate, but stresses genealogies of the families actually reg- 
nant in 1870, though there is an appendix on the House of 
Capet, which in 1870 was not reigning anywhere. Twenty 
years ago, the indefatigable genealogist Prince Wilhelm Karl 
von Isenburg published the first edition of his excellent 
Stammtaf eln zur Geschichte der europaischen Staaten (2 
vols., 1936-37), the first volume on German, the second on 
non-German dynasties. Prince von Isenburg followed the 
same sequence of families that had been used 200 years 


earlier by Hiibner. Since World War II, Prince von Isen- 
burg and his collaborator, Baron Frank von Freytag-Loring- 
hoven, have brought out another edition of this work, much 
enlarged, which contains not only ruling and formerly rul- 
ing dynasties, but also eminent houses of non-German nobility 
such as the Churchill and Spencer-Churchill family, so that 
the reader may easily see the great Sir Winston and his 
paternal ancestors and relatives. 

A remarkable work which belongs in the category of general 
Genealogical Tables is A. M. H. J. Stokvis, Manuel d'histoire, 
de genealogie et de chronologie de tous les etats du globe 
(3 vols., 1888-1893.) The result of incredible labor and 
erudition, the first volume is devoted to the non-European 
world (Asia, Africa, North and South America, and Poly- 
nesia) . Stokvis's second volume is devoted to Europe outside 
the bounds of the old Holy Roman Empire ; his third volume 
contains pedigrees and lists pertaining to the area once 
covered by that empire ; Germany, Austria, the Benelux coun- 
tries, Switzerland and Italy. Genealogists should remember 
that Stokvis's work is a historian's genealogy rather than a 
genealogist's genealogy. Wives are omitted in most of the 
tables unless they are heiresses; only important children are 
given instead of all children; years only instead of complete 
elates appear. Nevertheless, it is a great work, the only one 
in which dynasties and lists of rulers and governors of the 
whole world can be found all together. 

Our fourth category deals with works on descendants of a 
single ancestor or ancestral pair, in all lines, male and female. 
Pre-eminent in this category is the great book by Dr. Erich 
Brandenburg, Die Nachkommen Karls des Grossen (1935), 
which traces all the descendants of Charlemagne for fourteen 
generations, contains a special section on "probable but un- 
proved" descendants, and has full references for each family. 
Other examples of this category are Pere Cherubin de Renaix, 
Descendance du Prince Charles de Ligne, Due d'Arenberg (2 
vols., 1921-31), a series of tables containing the complete de- 
scendants in every line of a man who married in 1587. The 


Marquis de Ruvigny (an Englishman despite his French title) 
began in 1903 a series called The Plantagenet Roll of the 
Blood Royal of England, in which he intended to trace all the 
descendants of King Edward III. Five volumes appeared 
which, though incomplete, are useful. 

A fifth category deals with books which present a certain 
number of ancestors of a given individual as well as all their 
descendants, thus including uncles, aunts, and cousins of 
many degrees as well as closer relatives. Interesting samples 
of this type are Comte Henri Frotier de La Messeliere, Les 
alliances des families composant les 6U quartiers genealogi- 
ques du Comte de La Messeliere (2 vols., 1904) ; Roman Frei- 
herr von Prochazka, Meine zweiunddreissig Ahnen and ihre 
Sippenkreise (1928), and Albert Fabritius, Hans Majestaet 
Kong Christian X og hans Slaetninge (1937), which presents 
(in Danish) the 16 great-great-grandparents of King Chris- 
tian X and all their descendants. 

Our sixth category should be called national or regional 
genealogies of royal and noble families. Here we come to the 
books of this type most familiar to the average American 
reader, the various British Peerage works. Despite their 
familiarity, a word should be said about them. The greatest 
is the Complete Peerage, new edition, already cited in this 
chapter. Though this is a work of vast scholarship, and 
the most authoritative of its kind, readers must remember 
that it contains information only on peers, their wives, and 
their eldest sons. Information on other children is almost 
never included. Special attention should be drawn to the 
Appendices in each volume. Some of these, such as Appendix 
A of vol. X, "Norse Predecessors of the Earls of Orkney", are 
works of outstanding erudition. The weaknesses of the early 
editions of Collins', Lodge's, Playfair's and Burke's Peerages 
in giving credence to fabulous ancestries have already been 
mentioned. These have been largely eliminated in recent 
editions of Burke's Peerage and Landed Gentry, while Deb- 
rett's Peerage lists only the holders of titles and their living 
relatives, and makes no attempt to trace ancestral lines. Of 
special interest is Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage 


(9 vols., 1904-14, fully indexed), an excellent and careful 
work. Mention should also be made of John W. Clay, Ex- 
tinct and Dormant Peerages of the Northern Counties of 
England (1913), a fine example of regional genealogy. 
Readers of British peerage works will note some differences in 
usage between them and continental European works of 
similar nature. The British seldom mention places of birth, 
marriage and death, while modern continental authors nearly 
always give places as well as dates. The British Peerages 
which list children (that is, all except the Complete Peerage, 
which omits most children) always list all sons first, then all 
daughters. Continental European genealogists follow the 
more sensible system of listing children in order of seniority. 

In France, there is no modern work comparable to the 
British Peerages which include articles on all the noble fami- 
lies. There were, however, excellent works of this type in the 
past, and there are fine recent monographs which cover the 
field partially. Pere Anselme, Histoire genealogique de la 
maison de France et des grands officiers de la couronne (3rd 
ed., in 8 vols., 1726-33; reissued in 9 vols., 1879-82; partial 
revision by Potier de Courcy, 1953) is the primary work. 
Louis Moreri, Grand dictionnaire historique (1739 ed.) con- 
tains excellent genealogical articles on French and some other 
noble families by Chasot de Nantigny. Frangois de La Ches- 
naye des Bois, Dictionnaire de la noblesse, published in 
several editions in the 18th century, and reprinted without 
additions in 19 volumes in 1861, is very good for noble families 
of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, not so good on earlier 
periods. J. B. P. de Courcelles, Histoire genealogique des 
pairs de France (12 vols., 1822-33) and his Dictionnaire de la 
noblesse de France (5 vols., 1820-21) are good for the fami- 
lies they treat, but they do not include the whole nobility. 
The same criticism can be made of Viton de Saint-AUais, 
Nobiliaire de France, issued 1814-43 and 1872-95. Edouard 
Gamier, Tableaux genealogiques des souverains de la France 
et de leurs grands feodataires (1861) is excellent for the 
many branches of the House of Capet and for the great 
mediaeval families such as the Dukes of Brittany and Counts 


of Armagnac. One must not forget P. d'Hozier, Armorial 
general (several editions) and H. Jougla de Morenas, Grand 
armorial de France (4 vols., 1934-39), which contain gene- 
alogical as well as heraldic data. Vicomte A. Reverend, 
Armorial du premier empire (4 vols., 1894-97), Armorial de 
la restauration (6 vols., 1901-6), and Titres et confirmations 
de titres, 1830-1908 (2 vols., 1909), are indispensable works 
for the modern period. Reverend often gives the genealogical 
background of the families he treats from the early 18th cen- 
tury. Baron Woelmont de Brumagne, La noblesse frangaise 
(4 vols., 1929-35) contains superb articles on many noble 
families, but does not cover all the noblesse of France. The 
same authors Notices genealogiques (9 vols., 1923-36) are 
equally good. Since World War II, a new genealogical 
scholar has arisen in France, all of whose books are good, and 
each better than the preceding one. He is Joseph Valynseele, 
author of Le sang des Bonaparte (1954), Les marechaux du 
premier empire (1957) and Les princes et dues du premier 
empire non marechaux (1959). Having covered the Bona- 
partes and the Napoleonic peerage, M. Valynseele intends to 
continue with families ennobled at the Restoration, especially 
the marechaux de France. In connection with M. Valynseele's 
first book, one should point out that it supplements but does 
not entirely supersede Leonce de Brotonne, Les Bonapartes et 
leurs alliances (1893), which includes sections on the Ramo- 
lino, Fesch, Arrighi, Ornano, Beauharnais, Tascher de La 
Pagerie, Clary, Leon, Walewski, Boyer, Jouberthon, Mont- 
enuovo, and Morny families, all connected with the Bona- 
partes in one way or another. 

In addition to the works dealing with all France, there 
is a large collection of books on the various provinces. We 
cite here only Comte E. de Foras, Armorial et nobiliaire de 
Savoie (6 vols., 1863-1938), Comte Henri Frotier de La Mes- 
seliere, Filiations bretonnes (5 vols., 1912-26). There is a 
bibliography of these provincial genealogies in Otto Forst- 
Battaglia, Traite de geaealogie (1949), p. 124. 

For Italy, we have first of all the magnificent work of Conte 
Pompeo Litta, Famiglie celebri italiane, 11 vols. (1818-63), all 


hand-illuminated and decorated with coats of arms and por- 
traits in colour of various members of the celebrated families. 
This is the most sumptuous of all genealogical publications, 
and contains an immense amount of information, even on 
minor branches of the great families. There is a supple- 
ment of 4 volumes (1902-12) dealing chiefly with families 
from Naples, such as the Caracciolo and Carafa. Other 
general works on Italian families are G. Crollalanza, Dizio- 
nario delle famiglie italiane (3 vols., 1886-90), S. Manucci, 
Nobiliario del Regno d' Italia (4 vols., 1925-29) and Vittorio 
Spreti, Enciclopedia storico-nobiliaria italiana (8 vols., 1928- 
36). There are also many regional works which are listed in 
Forst-Battaglia, Traite de genealogie, 126-7. 

For Germany, mention should be made of Ernst Heinrich 
Kneschke, Deutsche Grafenhauser (3 vols., 1852-4), the series 
of Stammtafeln mediatisierter Hauser, containing tables of all 
the mediatized princely and comital families of Germany, the 
various Adelslexika printed in the 18th and 19th centuries, 
the old works of Johann Seifert, Genealogische Beschreibung 
alter Graf en und Herren (4 vols., 1702-5) and Genealogie 
hochadelicher Eltern und Kinder (2 vols., 1716-24), as well 
as regional works such as Baron Otto Dungern, Genealo- 
gisches Handbuch zur bayrisch-oesterreichischen Geschichte 
(1931), J. Kindler von Knobloch, Oberbadisches Geschlech- 
terbuch (3 vols., 1894-1919) and W. Moeller, Stammtafeln 
westdeutscher Adelsgeschlechter (3 vols., 1922-36). In ad- 
dition, vast amounts of information on German noble families 
will be found in the works of Hiibner, von Behr and Prince 
von Isenburg already mentioned, and in the almanachs and 
monographs which will be mentioned below in the seventh 
and eighth categories. 

For Austria, the same works of Hiibner and Prince von 
Isenburg are of primary importance; so are the almanachs 
and monographs. In addition, one should consult Karl von 
Wurzbach, Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserstaats Oester- 
reich (60 vols., 1851-91), containing genealogies of the prin- 
cipal Austrian families. 

In Switzerland, there is great interest in both heraldry and 


genealogy. The relatively few Swiss families among the 
titled nobility generally bear Austrian, Prussian, French, or 
Papal titles, and are treated in the works on Austrian, Ger- 
man and French nobility. There is an interesting bibliog- 
raphy of works on Swiss genealogy in Forst-Battaglia, 
Traite de genealogie, 119-22. 

For Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, the most 
important works are F. G. Goethals, Dictionnaire des families 
nobles de Belgique (4 vols., 1849-52, and the same author's 
Miroir des notabilites nobiliaires (2 vols., 1857-62) ; C. 
Poplimont, La noblesse beige (1856-58) and La Belgique her- 
aldique (11 vols., 1863-67). For the mediaeval period, an in- 
dispensable work is L. Vanderkindere, La formation terri- 
toriale des principautes beiges (2d. ed., ; 2 vols., 1902). Also 
important are A. Ferwerda, Adelijk Wapenboek van de zeven 
Provincien (3 vols., 1760-81), A. Vorsterman van Oijen, 
Stam- en Wapenboek van aanzienlijke Nederlandsche Fami- 
lien (3 vols., 1885-90) and F. B. Wittert van Hoogland, De 
Nederlandsche Adel (1913). 

Considering the well-known Spanish quality of pride, it is 
not surprising that there are many works on Spanish noble 
families. Seventeenth century nobiliaries by Lopez de Haro, 
Rivarola, Salazar y Castro and Villadermoros still have a cer- 
tain value. The German genealogist Jakob Wilhelm Imhof 
wrote two works in Latin, dealing with Spanish and Italian 
noble houses, Corpus historiae genealogicae Italiae et His- 
paniae (Nurnberg, 1702) and Genealogia viginti illustrium in 
Hispania, familiorum (Leipzig, 1712), and, according to Pro- 
fessor Garrett Mattingly (to whom grateful acknowledg- 
ment is made for this information), the latter contains pedi- 
grees of the family of Alvarez de Toledo, Dukes of Medina 
Sidonia, to which house belonged the admiral of the Spanish 
Armada who is the hero of Professor Mattingly's forthcoming 
book, The Armada (1959). Special mention must be made 
of Francisco Fernandez de Bethencourt, Historia genealogica 
de la monarquia espanola (9 vols., 1897-1912), a splendidly 
detailed work which, however, treats of relatively few fami- 
lies, though these include the important ones of Acuna, Borja, 


and Fernandez de Cordoba. F. Pilferer, Nobiliario de Es- 
pana (6 vols., 1857-60) is worth consultation, but the most 
extensive work is A. Garcia Caraffa, Enciclopedia herdldica 
y genealogica hispano-americana (in progress since 1919; this 
work reached vol. 79 in 1958) . 

For Portugal and its former colony, Brazil, we should cite 
A. C. de Souza, Historia genealogica da Casa Real Portugueza 
(12 vols., 1735-48), which lists all descendants in male and 
female lines, legitimate and illegitimate, of the dynasties 
which have ruled Portugal. The same author's Memorias dos 
grandes de Portugal (1754) is also noteworthy. A. da Sil- 
veira Pinto, Resenha das familias titulares e grandes de 
Portugal (2 vols., 1877-91), P. Ferreira, Livro de ouro da 
nobleza de Portugal (1902 sq.), and M. J. Costa Felguieiras 
Gayo, Nobiliario da familias de Portugal (1938) are all useful 
for the modern period. The Brazilian J. S. de Vasconcellos, 
Archivo nobiliarchico brasileiro (1916) contains excellent ac- 
counts of the Brazilian nobility created by Emperors Dom 
Pedro I and II, as well as of Portuguese nobles who settled 
in Brazil. 

Turning to Scandinavia, we find in Sweden the work of G. 
Anrep, Svenska Adelns-Attar-taflor (4 vols., 1858-64), with 
continuation by F. N. Wrangel (3 vols., 1897-1902) ; Gustaf 
Elgenstjerna, Svenska Adelns Attar-taflor, (9 vols., 1925-36) 
is a revision and enlargement of the work of Anrep and 
Wrangel. In Denmark and Norway, there are: Leksikon 
over adelige Familier i Danmark, Norge og Hertugdommere 
(3 vols., 1787) ; A Thiset and P. L. Wittrup, Nyt dansk Adels- 
lexikon (1904) ; S. 0. Brenner, Leksikon over danske Fami- 
lier (1927 sq.) ; W. Lassen, Norske Stamtavler (1868), and 
H. Krog-Steffens, Norske Slaegter (1915). More work needs 
to be done on Scandinavian families of the early mediaeval 

In the Baltic area, the aristocracy was nearly all German 
or Swedish in origin. This area is covered genealogically by 
a set of volumes, Genealogisches Handbuch der baltischen 
Ritterschaften, divided into three sections, Estland, Kurland 
and Livland, according to provinces in the former Russian 


empire which, after 1918, became the republics of Esthonia 
and Latvia. These volumes were published in Germany, 
1929 sq. It is surprising to find in the part on Livland, pp. 
793-800, a fine account of the La Trobe family, descended 
from a brother of the American architect and engineer, Ben- 
jamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820). 

In Finland, also, the aristocracy was mostly of non-Finnish 
origin. The single Finnish genealogical author interested in 
royal and noble lineage was Osmo Durcham, who published a 
number of articles in both Swedish and Finnish in the Hel- 
sinki magazine Genos in the 1930s. 

The Hungarian and Czechish princely, comital and baro- 
nial families all appeared in the almanachs to be discussed 
later, as did also the Polish princes and some Polish Counts. 1 

For imperial Russia, the earliest good work is Prince Peter 
Dolgoruki, Rossiiskaia rodoslovnaia kniga (4 vols., 1855-57), 
with 2d. ed. by Prince A. B. Lobanov-Rostovsky (1895) ; P. 
N. Petrov, Istoriia rodov russkogo dvorianstva (1886) ; V. 
V. Rummel and V. V. Golubtsov, Rodoslovnii sbornik russkich 
dvorianskich familii (2 vols., 1886-87) ; L. M. Savelov, Lekcii 
po russkoi genealogii (2 vols., 1908). Mention must also be 
made of the most useful collections of death records edited by 
Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich of Russia, the Peters- 
burgskii Nekropol, Moskovskii Nekropol, and Provincialnii 
Nekropol. Since the Russian Revolution, exiled nobles and 
gentry have attempted by labors of love to keep alive the tra- 
ditions of their ancestors through genealogical publications, 
and they have succeeded to a remarkable degree. Nicolas 
Ikonnikov published a first edition of La noblesse de Russie 
(2 vols., 1937-38), and a new and much larger edition (1957 
sq.). In New York, exiled Russians published a periodical, 
Novik (1936 sq.), containing genealogical articles, obituaries, 

Separate notice must be given to the work of an eminent 
Russian genealogist whose chief concern was mediaeval Rus- 

1 There are a number of genealogical works in Magyar, Czechoslovakian 
and Polish which will be useful to the genealogists who can read those 


sia. Nicholas de Baumgarten began his work in Moscow: 
Rodoslovnie Otryvki (1909) ; K'proiskhozhdeniu Kniazei Via- 
zemskich (1915) ; after the Revolution, he fled to Rome, and 
there achieved his most productive work: "Genealogies et 
manages occidentaux des Rurikides russes du Xe au XHIe 
siecle," Orientalia Christiana, May, 1927; "Le dernier man- 
age de Saint Vladimir," ibid., May, 1930 ; "Pribyslava de Rus- 
sie et Cunegonde d'Orlamunde," ibid., Dec, 1930; "Genea- 
logies des branches regnantes des Rurikides du XHIe au 
XVIe siecle," ibid., June, 1934; "Origine de Michel Wisnie- 
wiecki roi de Pologne," ibid., 1935; "Polotzk et Lithuanie," 
ibid., 1936 ; "Halitch et Ostrog," ibid., 1937. These are by far 
the best works on the descendants of Rurik and on mediaeval 
genealogical connections between Russia and her neighbors. 

Proceeding to southeastern Europe, we next consider the 
Byzantine Empire. The chief work is Charles du Fresne Du 
Cange, Familiae byzantinae (1680), on all the dynasties and 
magnates of the empire. Charles Hopf, Chroniques greco- 
romanes (1873) contains marvelous pedigrees of the later 
Byzantine families, the Latin crusading families who settled 
in Greece and the Aegean archipelago, and Serbian and Al- 
banian families who intermarried with them. For the Palaeo- 
logus dynasty, students should examine Archimandrit Aver- 
kios Th. Papadopulos, Versuch einer Genealogie der Palaio- 
logen (1938) and "Ferdinand Paleologus", in The Journal of 
the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, 7 (1940). 
A perfectly fascinating series of mediaeval genealogical and 
financial problems was presented by Professor Robert Lee 
Wolff, "Mortgage and redemption of an emperor's son: Cas- 
tile and the Latin Empire of Constantinople," Speculum, 29: 

Prince Eugene Rizo-Rangabe, Livre d f or de la noblesse 
phanariote (Athens, 1904) covers the princely families, de- 
scendants of the Greeks of the Phanar quarter in Constanti- 
nople, who were appointed rulers of Wallachia and Moldavia 
by the Sultans of Turkey, and became ancestors of the 20th 
century Romanian and Greek aristocracy. Philip P. Argenti, 
Libro d'oro de la noblesse de Chio (2 vols., 1955) is a splendid 


and complete work on Greek families originally from the 
Island of Chios, who have made their way to many other 
parts of the world. The Ralli family, perhaps the most inter- 
continental of all families, is treated here in all its many 

Crusading European families are best treated in Du Cange, 
Families d'outre-mer (ed. Rey, 1869). Of the kings of Ar- 
menia, there are pedigrees in R. Grousset, Histoire de 
VArmenie (1947), and of the kings of Georgia in M. F. Bros- 
set, Histoire de Georgie, while F. Justi, Iranisches Namen- 
buch (1895) contains genealogies of the rulers and chieftains 
of Armenia, Georgia, Iran and adjoining regions. The lead- 
ing contemporary specialist on Georgian families is Prince 
Cyril Toumanoff, author of "On the relationship between the 
Plunder of the Empire of Trebizond and the Georgian Queen 
Thamar," Speculum, 15:299; "Christian Caucasia between 
Byzantium and Iran," Traditio, 10:109; "Chronology of the 
Kings of Abasgia," he Museon, 69:73; "La noblesse geor- 
gienne," Rivista Araldica, 54 :260, as well as the article on the 
former reigning family of Georgia (Bagration) in Novik. 

The seventh category concerns almanachs and periodicals. 
Pre-eminent among these is the Almanack de Gotha (German 
edition called Gotkdisches Hofkalender) published continu- 
ously from 1763 to 1944, inclusive, by Justus Perthes Verlag 
at Gotha. An amazingly accurate work, the Almanack was 
divided into two parts, the "Annuaire genealogique", and the 
"Annuaire diplomatique et statistique," while the first part 
was again divided into three divisions. These concerned, 
first, the ruling families of Europe; secondly, the mediatized 
German and Austrian princes and counts, whose families had 
been sovereign prior to the dissolution of the Holy Roman 
Empire; thirdly, princely and ducal families of Europe. In 
addition to the Almanack de Gotha, Justus Perthes pub- 
lished the Tasckenbuch der grdflichen Hauser (1828 sq.), 
containing the families of the non-mediatized German counts, 
as well as Austrian, Hungarian and some Polish counts; the 
Tasckenbuch der freikerrlicken Hauser (1848 sq.) which 
performed the same function for barons; the Tasckenbuch 


der uradeligen Hduser (1900 sq.) and Taschenbuch der 
brief adelig en Hduser (1927 sq.) which covered the noble 
but untitled German and Austrian families. All these publi- 
cations came to an end in World War II, when Gotha was 
bombed and finally handed over to the "German Demo- 
cratic Republic" under Soviet auspices. Happily for the 
genealogist, however, the C. A. Starke-Verlag began in 1951 
a series of publications designed to replace those of Perthes. 
These are called the Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, 
and have about the same coverage as the former Perthes pub- 
lications. The work that is the equivalent of the Almanack 
de Gotha is entitled Filrstliche Hduser, and is divided, as was 
the Almanack, into sections dealing with reigning and re- 
cently reigning families, mediatized families, and the princely 
and ducal families of Europe. Starke- Verlag's other publi- 
cations are called Graflicke Hduser, Freikerrlicke Hduser and 
Adelige Hduser. An advantage of the Starke-Verlag over 
the Perthes publications is that each volume contains a com- 
plete surname index and, as an added attraction, the Starke- 
Verlag editors have included in each volume a few Ancestor 
Tables of specially fascinating individuals. 

A number of publications, more or less modelled on the 
Almanack de Gotha, began to appear in various countries in 
the 19th century. One of the most interesting of these was 
H. R. Hiort-Lorenzen, Livre d'or des souverains (several edi- 
tions, last and best 1908), which surpassed the Almanack by 
listing all members, living and deceased, of the sovereign and 
mediatized and former sovereign families of Europe from 
about 1750 to the time of publication. We should perhaps 
also cite the Almanack de Bruxelles, published for a few 
years in World War I days as a protest against the German 
origin of the Almanack de Gotha. 

As for the national serials and periodicals pertaining to 
the nobility, there are many. In Spain : Juan Moreno de 
Guerra, Guia de la grandeza (1917 sq.) ; Roberto Moreno 
Morrison, Guia nobiliaria de Espana (many editions), Revista 
de kistoria y genealogia espanola (1912 sq.) ; in France, the 
Annuaire de la noblesse de France (1844 sq.) and Rex (1909- 


14) ; in Belgium, the Annuaire de la noblesse beige (1847 
sq.) ; in the Netherlands, the Nederlands Adelsboek (1903 
sq.) ; in Denmark, Danmarks Adels Aarbog (1884 sq.) ; in 
Sweden, Sveriges Adelskalender (1900 sq.) ; in Italy, An- 
nuario della nobiltd italiana (1878-1905), followed by the 
Libro d'oro della nobiltd italiana (1910 sq.), and Rivista 
araldica (1903 sq.) ; in Austria, the Jahrbuch der heraldischen 
Gesellschaft Adler (1873), the Monatsblatt des Adler (1881 
sq.), the Jahrbuch des oesterreichischen Instituts fur Gene- 
alogie, Familienrecht and Wappenkunde (1928 sq.), and Karl 
Friedrich von Frank's Senftenegger Monatsblatt (1951 sq.) ; 
in southern Italy, UAraldo, almanacco nobiliare napoletano 
(1880-1913), and in Bavaria, Prince Franz Joseph zu Hohen- 
lohe-Schillingsfurst's Der in Bayern immatrikulierter Adel 
(1950 sq.). 

The eighth category pertains to monographs on individual 
families, and here the amount of publication is truly im- 
mense. We must content ourselves with the citation of a few 
outstanding examples. There are works on each of the Ger- 
man dynasties, but the best is perhaps Carl Knetsch, Das 
Hans Brabant (1931), a most careful study of the Dukes of 
Brabant and of the Landgraves, Electors and Grand Dukes of 
Hessen. Other fine examples of discriminating genealogical 
work are J. M. van de Venne and others, Geslachts-Register 
van het Vorstenhuis Nassau (1937), and Alexander A. M. 
Stols, Geslachts-Register van het Vorstenhuis Lippe (1938), 
published in commemoration of the marriage of the present 
Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and her consort, Prince 
Bernhard. An Italian example is Gaetano Pieraccini, La 
Stirpe de J Medici di Cafaggiolo (3 vols., 1924-27), a fine ac- 
count of the celebrated Florentine family. 

It should be remembered that memoirs, especially German 
or Austrian memoirs, often contain a genealogical appendix. 
Such is the case with Grafin Lulu Thiirheim, Mein Leben 
(4 vols., 1923-4), in the last volume of which there is both 
a pedigree of the Thiirheim family and an Ancester Table of 
the authoress. 

Our ninth and last category consists of a list of some mis- 


cellaneous books which may be interesting or thought-pro- 
voking. No one interested in mediaeval genealogical prob- 
lems can overlook Comte J. M. J. L. de Mas-Latrie, Tresor 
de chronologie et de geographie pour Vetude et Vemploi des 
documents du moy en-age (1889) or L'art de verifier les dates 
des faits historiques (2nd. ed., 42 vols., 1818-44). Everyone 
interested in aspects of heredity will wish to consult Auguste 
Brachet, La pathologie mentale des rois de France (1903), 
and W. Strohmayer, Psychiatrisch-genealogische Untersuch- 
ung der Abstammung Kbnig Ludivigs II und Ottos I von 
Bay em (1912), Stephan Kekule von Stradonitz, Ausgew'ahlte 
Aufsatze aus dem Gebiete des Staatsrecht und der Genealogie 
(1905) contains remarkable genealogical and legal-gene- 
alogical essays. Baron Otto von Dungern, Mutterstamme 
(1924) is an extremely interesting study of matrilineal lines 
of descent. One learns with some surprise that the most 
remote known ancestress of Queen Victoria in the matrilineal 
line was Inez, illegitimate daughter of King Theobald of 
Navarre in the 13th century. Otto Forst-Battaglia, Das 
Geheimnis des Blutes (1932) is an entertaining series of es- 
says, all genealogical, which show the mixture of blood and 
genes that takes place over many generations. It contains a 
number of Ancestor Tables. The same author's Traite de 
genealogie (1949) contains a superb series of bibliographies, 
of which much use has been made in this chapter, as well as 
interesting folding genealogical tables. 



The bulk and complexity of those English and Welsh records 
from which the American genealogist might possibly de- 
rive assistance is so great that only a small number of the 
existing classes can be even mentioned here. The documents 
in the Public Record Office alone have recently been estimated 
to number more than fifty million. Furthermore, an ex- 
planation of why the existing documents are what they are 
and where they are would amount almost to an administrative 
history of the English Church and State. The following 
small selection has, therefore, been made with an eye almost 
exclusively to the needs of the American genealogist seeking 
the origins of an American settler. The use of some classes of 
record is an art in itself, their nature having to be understood 
before their evidential value can be appreciated. Often one 
series may be used as a key or index to another. 

The following general guides will be found useful r 1 

Origines Genealogicae, by Stacey Grimaldi, 1828 ; 

Manual for the Genealogist, by Richard Sims, 1856 ; 

Records and Record Searching, by Walter Rye, 1897; 

How to Write the History of a Family, by W. P. W. Philli- 
more, 2nd edition 1900 ; 

Genealogical Research in England, Scotland and Ireland, by 
J. H. Lea, 1906 ; 

Guide to the Victoria County History, 1912 ; 

Pedigree Work, by W. P. W. Phillimore, 3rd edition, 1936 ; 

A Select Bibliography of English Genealogy, by H. G. Har- 
rison, 1937. 

English Genealogy, by Anthony R. Wagner, 1959. (See 
p. 327) 

1 Also helpful may be The Genealogist's Handbook, published by The 
Society of Genealogists, London; and Genealogical Research in England 
and Wales, by David E. Gardner and Frank Smith (Vol. I, 1950, Vol. II, 
1959). ED. 



The following are the principal depositories of original 
records. Several of these also contain collections of extraneous 
matter which the genealogist will find useful, which have from 
time to time been added to the archives as of kindred interest. 
A valuable general guide is Hubert Hall's Repertory of 
British Archives, Part I, England, 1920, published by the 
Royal Historical Society. 
The Public Record Office, Chancery Lane, London, W. C. 2 

The Public Record Office Act of 1838 provided for bringing 
together under one control and making available for con- 
sultation, records belonging to the Crown which had pre- 
viously been scattered among a large number of separate of- 
fices and depositories. An account of the process is given in 
the Guide to the Public Records, Part I, Introductory, 1949. 
The large number of different classes of records now de- 
posited in the Public Record Office are briefly described and 
listed in A Guide to the Manuscripts Preserved in the Public. 
Record Office, by M. S. Giuseppi, 2 vols. 1923-4. A new Guide 
to the Public Records is to appear in parts. Part I, Intro- 
ductory, was published by H. M. Stationery Office in 1949. A 
long series of lists, indexes, and calendars of particular class- 
es of documents have been produced by the Office over a 
period of years and are constantly being added to. The list 
of those available can be obtained from H. M. Stationery 
Office, York House, Kingsway, London, W. C. 2. 
Probate Registries 

Down to 1858, the testamentary jurisdiction belonged to the 
Church, but was exercised by a patchwork of special authori- 
ties, large and small, each with its own jurisdiction some- 
times extending over a diocese or a province, sometimes only 
over a parish or two. The general ecclesiastical division of 
the country on which the Probate divisions were based is best 
understood from the Liber Regis vel Thesaurus Rerum Ec- 
clesiasticarum, by John Bacon 1786. Particulars of the Pro- 
bate jurisdictions and their records are given in full in a 
series of Parliamentary Returns of Courts empowered to 


grant Probate of Wills of 1828, 1829, and 1932. Their con- 
tents are briefly summarized in A Handbook to the Ancient 
Courts of Probate and Depositories of Wills, by Ceorge W. 
Marshall, 1895, and in Wills and their Whereabouts, by B. G. 
Bouwens. The probate jurisdiction was transferred in 1858 
to the Probate Division of the High Court and the ancient 
records are at present divided between Somerset House, 
Strand, London, W. C. 2, and certain Provincial Probate Reg- 
istries and approved depositories. Bouwens gave a list of 
these as existing in 1939, the Second edition brings it up to 
1951. 2 Some of the documents have been moved from pro- 
vincial Probate Registries to other places of deposit, for 
example, the Rochester Wills are now in the County Record 
Office, Maidstone, Kent, the Lancashire Wills from Chester 
are at the County Record Office, Preston, and the wills for all 
the Welsh Probate Courts are at the National Library of 
Wales, Aberystwyth. Calendars and Indexes of Wills and 
Administrations in a number of the Courts have been made 
and printed by the British Record Society and a few by other 
persons and Bodies, but for many of the courts there are 
only manuscript lists or indexes available, and these are not 
always complete or reliable. 

General Register Office, Somerset House, Strand, London, 

General Civil Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages 
in England and Wales was made compulsory from the 1st of 
July 1837, but for the first few years it is not safe to assume 
that registration was in fact complete. The quarterly in- 
dexes of the registers are available for public consultation 
at Somerset House. Births and Deaths at Sea since the 1st 
of July 1837 are also registered. 

In addition, the Register General has in his custody a large 
number of non-parochial registers of baptisms or births, 
burials or deaths and, in a few instances, of marriages kept 

2 The Second Edition of Wills and Their Whereabouts was published in 
1951, after Mr. Bouwens' death. The changes in the locations of wills 
since the publication of the first edition in 1951 were made in the Second 
Edition by Miss Helen Thacker. 


by various non-conformist bodies and congregations. A Re- 
port of the Non-Parochial Registers and Records in the Cus- 
tody of the Registrar General at Somerset House, 1859, gives 
a list. 

The Registrar GeneraPs records also comprise Registers of 
Births, Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths and Burials of British 
subjects abroad, kept by British consuls and similar records 
for military stations abroad, kept by Army chaplains. 

Churches and Chapels 

Cathedrals. — In or attached to each ancient cathedral is a 
Diocesan Registry in which are preserved, among other docu- 
ments : 

bishops' registers, often going back to the Middle 
Ages, recording presentations of clergy and many other mat- 
ters. Some of these have been edited and printed by the 
Canterbury and York Society and a few by other bodies. 

records OF marriage licenses and connected documents 
beginning at different dates in different dioceses. 

the bishops' transcripts of parish registers, copies 
which the clergy were ordered in 1597 to send in annually, 
which in fact were not always made and are much more 
completely preserved in some dioceses than others. There 
is an account of them in The History of Parish Registers in 
England, by J. S. Burn, 2nd edition, 1862, chapter 9. 

Parish Churches. — 

parish registers : The keeping of these was first 
ordered by Thomas Cromwell in 1538, but few of them go 
that far back. A full account is given in Burn's History 
above mentioned, and a full list in the Parliamentary Parish 
Register Abstract, printed 1834. The contents of this are 
briefly indexed in A. M. Burke's Key to the Ancient Parish 
Registers of England and Wales, 1908. Most parish regis- 
ters are kept in the churches, though some have, with the 
Bishop's approval, been deposited elsewhere. Many have 
been copied, printed and indexed. The Society of Gene- 
alogists printed in 1937 a Catalogue of the Parish Registers 


in the Possession of the Society of Genealogists, 2nd edition, 
and in 1939 a National Index of Parish Register Copies, com- 
piled by Kathleen Blomfield and H. K. Percy-Smith. 

RATE BOOKS: Among other parish documents, the Rate 
Books of some city parishes exist and are of importance, but 
have usually been deposited elsewhere. 


can scarcely perhaps be claimed as archives, but are of great 
genealogical importance. Many manuscripts and printed 
copies exist. 

Nonconformist Churches, Chapels and Institutions: 
The majority of the old non-parochial records are in the 
custody of the Registrar-General at Somerset House as noted 
above, but some early and many later non-parochial registers 
are preserved in the churches and chapels. Many registers 
of the Society of Friends are at Friends* House, Euston Road, 
N. W. 1, together with extensive and valuable collections and 
indexes relating to the Quakers. A number of Roman 
Catholic Registers have been printed and indexed by the 
Catholic Record Society and a number of French Protestant 
Registers by the Huguenot Society. The Society of Gene- 
alogists' printed catalogues, mentioned above, cover many of 

The College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London, E. C. U 
The Kings, Heralds and Pursuivants of Arms existed from 
a much earlier date, but were first incorporated into a Col- 
lege in 1484 and again in 1555, when they acquired the site 
of the present building. They kept Records of Armorial 
Bearings from the 14th, if not from the 13th, century, but 
their responsibility for the official record, correction and con- 
trol of arms appears to date from the 15th century. Before 
the end of that century the need to record title to arms had 
led them to keep records of pedigrees also. The Heralds' 
Visitations under Royal Commission began in 1530 and about 
a hundred Visitation books preserved in the college record 
arms and pedigrees by counties. The last Visitation Com- 
mission was issued in 1686, but the registration of pedigrees 


on voluntary application has continued from before that date 
to the present time ; each pedigree having to be submitted with 
evidence and passed by examiners before registration. The 
college also has the Records of Grants of Arms from the 15th 
century. The Funeral Certificates record funerals of the 
nobility and gentry conducted by the Heralds in the 15th, 
16th and 17th centuries with particulars of their deaths, 
families and arms. The college also has the records of state 
ceremonials conducted by the Heralds. The extensive gene- 
alogical collections at the college are described below. A 
general account of the Heralds and their records is given in 
the article on "Heraldry" in Chambers' Encyclopaedia 1950 
edition, and an account of the college records and collections 
was published by the Burke's Peerage Ltd. 3 The records are 
not available for direct consultation by the public, but in- 
quiries may be addressed to the Secretary of the College or 
to any individual Herald by name. 

Commonwealth Relations Office, King Charles Street, London, 

In that part of the Commonwealth Relations Office which 
was formerly the India Office are preserved the Records of 
the East India Company, which comprise remarkably full 
records of the Company's Civil and Military Servants in the 
18th and 19th centuries. A good account of the India Office 
Records by Major V. C. P. Hodgson will be found in The 
Genealogists' Magazine, vol. 6, 1932, pp. 198-208. 

Local Records 

A general account of these is given in Hall's Repertory of 
British Archives above mentioned. Additional information 
on the accessibility of these records as well as of diocesan and 
probate records will be found in the Bulletin of the Institute 
of Historical Research, Special Supplement No. 1, 1932. The 
reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission, whose 
headquarters are at the Public Record Office, give details of 

3 Anthony Richard Wagner, Richmond Herald; The Records and Col- 
lection of the College of Arms (1952) obtainable from the author. 


many municipal records as well as of records in private hands. 
The National Register of Archives, whose headquarters are 
also at the Public Record Office, is compiling a general list of 
local and private archives. The chief depositories are : 

County Record Offices. — A number of County Councils, 
beginning with Bedfordshire in 1914, have set up County 
Record Offices, primarily to preserve the Quarter Sessions Rec- 
ords and their own modern records, with those of superseded 
authorities whose functions they have taken over, and 
secondly, to receive deposits of private and other records of 
local interest, of which many have been deposited in the last 
few years. 

Municipal Records. — These, especially in the ancient 
boroughs, comprise records of great genealogical value, such 
as records of freedoms and apprenticeships. 

Other Local Repositories Approved by the Master of 
the Rolls. — An Act of Parliament of 1924 placed Manorial 
Court Rolls under the care and superintendence of the Master 
of the Rolls, who thereupon approved a large number of local 
repositories as suitable places for their reception. These re- 
positories, which include the County Record Offices above 
mentioned and comprise a number of institutions of the most 
varied kind, such as archaeological and historical societies, 
museums and libraries, have since become places of deposit 
for other types of local records also. 

Registries of Deeds 

By Acts of Parliament of the Reigns of Queen Anne and 
George II, Registries of Deeds were set up for four districts 
of England: 

FOR the west riding OF Yorkshire. Beginning in 1704. 
Registry at Wakefield, Yorkshire. 

ning in 1708. Registry at Beverley, Yorkshire. 

for Middlesex. Beginning in 1709. Records at the 
Land Registry, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, W. C. 



1736. Registry at Northallerton, Yorkshire. 

Private and Institutional Archives 

A number of private landowners still retain in their muni- 
ment rooms archives of great genealogical value, though many 
of these have in recent years been transferred to public, 
national or local repositories. 

Many colleges, schools, charities and other institutions 
possess archives of great value relating to their properties, 
and some of them have also important archives relating to 
their special activities. For example, the universities, the 
Inns of Court, colleges, schools and professional bodies have 
records of the admission and careers of their members. Many 
of these are listed in the Institute of Historical Research 
Special Supplements 1 and 2, 1932-4. 


Genealogists have been at work in England and Wales for 
several centuries and before embarking upon a voyage in the 
vast sea of original archives, it is merely common sense to 
inquire first whether any of them has provided a chart of 
the particular territory which concerns us. As is well known, 
the work of pedigree makers presents many pitfalls, and 
should always be looked at in a critical spirit, but the more 
scholarly genealogists give references to the original sources 
of their information, and it is as a guide to these that it is 
here suggested that their work should be used. Printed 
genealogies are indexed in The Genealogists' Guide, by George 
W. Marshall, York Herald, last edition 1903, continued by A 
Genealogical Guide, by J. B. Whitmore, 1947. The following 
are the principal depositories of manuscript genealogical 
material : 

The College of Arms, London, E. C. 1* 

In addition to the official records, the College possesses ex- 
tensive genealogical collections, including the working papers 
of many former Heralds which have been bequeathed or pur- 


chased, very large collections of abstracts of wills and other 
documents made in the course of research, and copies of 
parish registers specially made or purchased. Like the rec- 
ords, these are not available for direct consultation by the 
public, but inquiries may be addressed to the Secretary of 
the College, or any individual Herald by name. 

The Department of Manuscripts, British Museum, London, 

Among the vast manuscript collections in the British 
Museum are genealogical collections of the first importance 
both national and local. A Catalogue of the Heralds Visita- 
tions, with references to many other valuable genealogical and 
topographical manuscripts in the British Museum, 2nd edit- 
ion 1825, and An Index to the pedigrees and Arms contained 
in the Heralds Visitations and other genealogical manuscripts 
in the British Museum, by R. Sims, 1849, contain valuable 
references to manuscripts acquired down to those dates, but 
many most important collections have been acquired sub- 
sequently and for these the indexes to the successive volumes 
of printed catalogues of the Additional and other manuscripts 
must be consulted. The Index to the Charters and Rolls of 
the Department of Manuscripts, British Museum, 2 vols., 1900 
and 1912, is an invaluable topographical guide. Some of the 
most important local collections are noted in Gatfield's Guide 
to Heraldry and Genealogy (supra). 

The Society of Genealogists, 37 Harrington Gardens, London, 

Besides a valuable library available to members and, on 
payment of a fee, to non-members, the Society has a collection 
of manuscript, genealogical and topographical material and 
a large and ever-growing card index of genealogical material 
of very many kinds, which it is always worth while to consult 
in a difficulty. A series of Marriage Indexes for a number of 
English counties and an Index of Apprenticeships are of 
special value. 

The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth 

Besides being, as already mentioned, the place of deposit 


of the Welsh Probate Records and of the Welsh Ecclesiastical 
Records other than the parish registers, this library contains 
a most important collection of Welsh genealogical material 

Bodleian Library, Oxford 

Some of the manuscript collections contain important gene- 
alogical material, notably the Dodsworth, Tanner, Dugdale, 
Ashmole and Gough Collections. Catalogues of these and 
others are printed, but differ considerably in the amount of 
detail given. 

Local Collections 

Some of the Public Libraries in the principal cities and 
some of the local archaeological societies possess important 
local genealogical collections. Special mention may be made 
of the Public Libraries at Newcastle-on-Tyne, Birmingham, 
and Manchester, the John Rylands Library at Manchester, 
and the Libraries of the William Salt Society at Stafford, the 
Yorkshire Archaeological Society at Leeds, and the Wiltshire 
Archaeological Society at Devizes. 


The following very brief selection comprises only those rec- 
ords likely to be most useful in tracing the English origin of 
American settlers. The first step is to make sure that the 
settler's origin has not been discovered already by another 
genealogist, first by searching the American and English 
indexes to the printed sources and then by examining the most 
likely of the genealogical collections listed above. The next 
step depends on whether or not the American evidence gives 
a clue to the settler's place of origin. If the date of his birth 
is also known, the General Register at Somerset House will 
then be searched, if he were born after the 1st of July 1837, 
or the baptismal register of the parish, if he were born 
earlier. Unfortunately, the case is seldom as simple as this. 
If the settler came to America after 1851 and his English 
place of residence in that year is known or can be discovered, 


his place of birth may then be ascertained by consulting the 
records of the 1851 Census in the Public Record Office. But, 
since this is arranged by localities and streets, it is necessary 
to know the exact address. This may often be ascertained 
from printed directories if not otherwise known. The 18 %1 
Census, the earliest which gives personal details, gives the age 
only to the nearest five years and states only whether the 
birth was in or outside the county of present residence. 

For a 17th century settler, if there is no direct clue to the 
place of English origin, the history of the settlement in which 
he took part will often give one. 

In the last resort, however, the first step will be to ascertain 
the general distribution of the name in England. When the 
name is a common occupational surname, this may be a hope- 
less task, but very many surnames, especially those of local 
origin, belong mainly or primarily to particular localities and 
are rare or unknown elsewhere. A good starting point for 
mapping the distribution of a name is to make lists from the 
printed calendars for the Prerogative Probate Courts of Can- 
terbury and York. The clues thus given can then be further 
refined upon by making similar lists from the calendars of 
the local probate courts for those parts in which the name 
occurs. By this means alone, it has sometimes proved pos- 
sible to pin a name down to a limited number of parishes. 

The next step will usually be to make abstracts of all wills 
and administrations of persons of the name for the possible 
period. These will give a closer view of the status, occu- 
pation, and genealogy of the family. For the post-mediaeval 
period, it may indeed be said that wills are the backbone of 
genealogy. They have the great advantage over parish reg- 
isters, and indeed most other classes of record, that a single 
will often specifies a number of relationships and so by com- 
parison with others give a far firmer basis for identification 
of persons than the single statement in, e.g., a baptismal entry 
that A was the son of B. The American searcher who finds 
the man he is pursuing mentioned in a will as "my nephew 
Thomas now dwelling in New England", or even "overseas" 
must count himself exceptionally fortunate, yet there are 


many such mentions in 17th century wills. For families with 
too little property to leave wills, reliance must mainly be 
placed on parish registers. 

For families whose members were high enough in the 
social scale to describe themselves as "gentlemen" and to be 
accepted as such by the Heralds, the records of the College 
of Arms, and particularly the Heralds' Visitations are in- 
valuable. A warning must here be given that a large propor- 
tion of the collections of pedigrees for different counties, which 
have been printed under the title of "Visitations", are in fact 
not Visitation Books at all, but compilations of greater or 
less accuracy, more or less directly derived from them. Be- 
cause this has not been understood, the originals in the Col- 
lege have often been blamed for the inaccuracies of the copies. 

There is in England no general central record of inheri- 
tance or conveyance of land, but from the 12th century down 
to 1834 many conveyances were made by Fine and are re- 
corded in the Feet of Fines in the Public Record Office. 
Calendars of these for certain dates and certain counties have 
been printed and others exist in manuscript. From the 27th 
year of Henry VIII, deeds of Conveyance of Freehold are 
enrolled in the Close Rolls in the Record Office. The County 
Record Offices and private muniment rooms contain vast 
numbers of private charters and deeds conveying land, as 
well as leases, rent books and the like. The local Land Reg- 
istries set up by Act of Parliament for certain localities in 
the early 18th century have already been mentioned. 

The Lay Subsidy and Hearth Tax Rolls are Returns of As- 
sessments for Taxation arranged by parishes and are in- 
valuable as a Directory of Householders with an indication of 
their standing in the world. 

Light upon the origins of men engaged in those trades 
which were subject to Guild control in the towns may often 
be had from the apprenticeship and other records, both of 
the Guilds or Companies and of the municipalities, and in 
some few cases, calendars or indexes have been printed. 

Of the records of the Courts of Law, after the mediaeval 
period, those with the greatest genealogical value are the 


Records of the Court of Chancery preserved in the Public Rec- 
ord Office. Calendars of these are printed from the reign 
of Richard II, when they begin, to the reign of Charles I, and 
a beginning has been made in the printing of later calendars. 
The Records of the membership of the Professions, the Army, 
the Navy, the Church, the Law and Medicine, are each a study 
in themselves, and references will be found in the general 
bibliographies mentioned above. 


The Documentary nature of Welsh Records is not in gen- 
eral very different from that of English Records. The prob- 
lems of Welsh genealogy are, however, in many ways different 
from those of English and call for some separate explanation. 
For a detailed account the reader may be referred to an 
article by Major Francis Jones, "The Background of Welsh 
Genealogy", Y Cymmrodor, 1948, pp. 303-466. 

The first point of difference that will be noted is that sur- 
names were not introduced into Wales until the 16th century 
and did not become universal until the 17th century and were 
then almost all patronymics and very few, comparatively 
speaking, in total number. The result is almost as if in Eng- 
land everyone were to have a surname of the relative fre- 
quency of Smith, while in the Probate Calendars one com- 
monly finds entries calendared under the Christian names in- 
stead of the surnames. On the other hand, down to the end 
of the 17th century and even later, the Welsh were remark- 
ably tenacious of family tradition. Until Henry Villi 
abolished the Welsh tenures, estates had been divided equally 
among all the sons, and if the male descendants of one should 
become extinct, the descendants of others would have a re- 
versionary claim. To keep record of one's descent was, 
therefore, a matter of serious practical importance. The 
recital of several generations of ancestry is constantly found 
in Wales in legal documents, and comparison with earlier rec- 
ord evidence has now shown that the traditional genealogies 


committed to writing in the 16th and 17th centuries rested 
to a great extent on firm foundations. 

Particular value attaches to the great corpus of Welsh 
genealogies, accumulated and added to, over a long period, 
which is now in the College of Arms. As Major Jones has 
made clear, however, these genealogies have their own special 
weaknesses for which full allowance must be made. There 
comes a point in working backwards where the first known 
ancestor of a family had to be linked to an older body of 
princely pedigrees, which in turn are joined at an earlier 
point to the British Kings, the Kings of Troy and the Bibli- 
cal Patriarchs. To the practiced eye, these sutures betray 
themselves readily enough. 

From the reign of Henry VIII a mass of Welsh genealogical 
material exists in the Great Sessions Records of the several 
counties, but, unfortunately, this is uncalendared and unin- 
dexed, so that to make use of it is a matter of great labour. 

(Note: English Genealogy, by Anthony R. Wagner, Rich- 
mond Herald, published by the Clarendon Press, Oxford, will 
probably be available in October, 1959. In some 400 pages 
(well indexed and documented) the author discusses the 
oldest lines from which persons of English origin can trace 
descent (Royal pedigrees of Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, Irish, 
Scots and Welsh, Charlemagne, etc.) ; descents claimed or 
proved from pre-conquest English and Normans of the cen- 
tury of the Conquest; the class structure of English Society 
as it affects the genealogist (Barons, gentlemen, franklins 
and yeomen, country labourers, trades, merchants, craftsmen, 
clergy, arts, recusants, dissenters, etc.) ; the rise and fall 
of families, social movements and effect of rules of inheri- 
tance; settlers in England from abroad; settlers overseas 
(Ireland, 17th century settlements in the American mainland 
and islands, colonies of the old Empire, and 19th century mi- 
grations) ; the records of Church and State and private rec- 


ords, and their genealogical content and use; and, finally, 
the study and literature of English genealogy from early 
times to the present and the practical approach to the subject 
and some of the problems encountered. It will provide those 
interested in English genealogy with much information which 
could not be furnished within the space limitations of this 
Chapter. ED.) 


Scottish records may be divided into four classes, viz. 
National, Local, Ecclesiastical and Private. 

The National Records are preserved in the General Reg- 
ister House at Edinburgh and a complete and detailed list 
of same will be found in A Guide to the Public Records of 
Scotland, deposited in H. M. General Register House, Edin- 
burgh, by Matthew Livingstone, Deputy Keeper of the Rec- 
ords, published in 1905, and also in An Introductory Survey 
of the Sources and Literature of Scots Law, published by the 
Stair Society, Edinburgh, 1936. It is impossible, in a limited 
work like this, to give all this information but those which 
are chiefly valuable to the genealogical searcher will be listed 
at the end of this chapter. 

The Local Records are preserved in the Sheriff Courts 
and Town Clerks' offices throughout the country. In the 
Sheriff Clerk's possession are the Registers of Proceedings 
in various legal actions before the Sheriffs, who are the 
County Court Judges. There are also Registers of Deeds, 
of Services of Heirs and the proceedings in Executrics of per- 
sons dying within their jurisdictions after 1830, including 
copies of wills and inventories of estates confirmed to exec- 
utors. The Property Registers in the Royal Burghs (Reg- 
isters of Sasines) are now being transferred to the General 
Register House, Edinburgh. 

The Ecclesiastical Records are those of the Church of 
Scotland and are in possession of the church authorities. 
Those of the General Assembly, Synods, Presbyteries and Kirk 
Sessions are deposited to a certain extent in the Strong Room 
at the General Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, though many of 
the Presbytery and Session Registers are still in the hands of 
their Clerks in the different localities. 

The Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths from 


1560 down to the year 1855 when compulsory registration 
came into force, were then brought to the Registrar General's 
Office, New Register House, Edinburgh, where they can be 
consulted under their different parishes. Very few of these 
records go back before 1600, many begin about 1689, and 
in some cases, after 1800. 

The Census returns for the years 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 
also can be consulted at the Registrar General's Office. These 
returns will give a detailed list of all households and the per- 
sons residing therein. 

The Registers of Dissenting Churches, the Free Church and 
United Free Church, Scottish Episcopal and Roman Catholic, 
are still in the hands of the local churches, but those of the 
Secession and the United Presbyterian Church are now de- 
posited in the Church of Scotland Offices, 121 George Street, 

Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, 7 volumes, published 1914-26, 
volume VIII in the press, contains detailed information re- 
garding all ministers of the Church of Scotland from 1560- 
1929 with particulars of their families. 

In making a genealogical search for the ancestry of Ameri- 
cans of Scottish descent, all possible information regarding the 
ancestor who left Scotland should be supplied, such as any 
indication of the locality he is understood to have come from 
and the names of any known ancestor or of any relatives who 
remained behind. Unless such information is known, any 
search is impossible. 

The Registers of Births, Deaths and Marriages of the 
parish from which he came are the first source of information 
that should be consulted. After that the Commissariat Reg- 
isters of Testaments (Probates) for the district should be 
examined for any relating to the family. If the family owned 
any land or houses, a search on the appropriate Register of 
Sasines should be made. 

The Records of the Court of the Lord Lyon, H. M. Register 
House, Edinburgh, should be consulted, not only the official 
ones but the immense collections of pedigrees and notes on 


various families on the unofficial file, to which there is a card 

Scottish Family History: A Guide to Works of Reference 
on the History and Genealogy of Scottish Families, by 
Margaret Stuart, to which is prefixed An Essay on How to 
Write the History of a Family, by Sir James Balfour Paul, 
K. C. V. 0., Lord Lyon King of Arms, published by Oliver and 
Boyd, Edinburgh, 1920, gives references to more printed 
sources where pedigrees will be found. The preface will 
also assist the searcher where to look for information and 
also contains a valuable list and details of the various records 
which should be searched. 

The Scottish Ancestry Research Society, 4 North St. David 
Street, Edinburgh, was instituted during the late war, chiefly 
for the purpose of assisting Commonwealth and American 
soldiers to trace their ancestors who were Scottish. This 
Society undertakes to make searches in the General Register 
of Births, Deaths and Marriages for 150 years and inquiries 
should be addressed to the Secretary. 

There are also private persons who undertake the work of 
searching all public and local records. The names of such 
reliable persons can be obtained by writing the Lord Lyon 
King of Arms, H. M. Register House, Edinburgh. As it is 
impossible to say what the cost of such a search may be, it is 
advisable for the inquirer to make arrangement with the 
searcher as to a sum beyond which he may not go without 
further instruction. 

As most of the earlier records are in Latin and written in a 
handwriting which requires an expert to read it, it will be 
found more convenient and economical for the inquirer to 
employ such a private searcher who has knowledge of such 
registers and which should be consulted. 



National Records. — 

Acts of Parliament, 12 volumes, 1446-1706, printed. 

Exchequer Rolls, 1264-1708, printed in 1600. 

Returns & Services of Heirs, 1550 to date; printed indices. 

Register of the Great Seal, 1306 to date, printed to 1608. 

Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland in Public Rec- 
ord Office, London, 1105-1509, printed. 

Register of the Privy Council, 1545-1706, printed to 1689. 

Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer, 1473-1625, printed to 

Register of the Privy Seal, 1488-1810, printed to 1548. 


to date. This is the largest collection of deeds relating to all 
subjects. It is unfortunately only partially indexed and as 
sometimes only three days registrations are given in a volume, 
a search is one of great labour. 

SION 1542 to date. The papers in connection with many of 
the litigations will be found in the National and in libraries 
of the legal societies in Edinburgh. 


register OF inhibitions 1602-1924. There are also local 
registers for each county. 


Courts, viz., Edinburgh 1567-1829. Aberdeen 1721-1824. 
Argyll 1674-1819. Brechin 1576-1823. Caithness 1661-79, 
1790-1824. Dumfries 1624-1827. Dunblane 1529-1825. Dun- 
keld 1687-1820. Glasgow 1547-1823. Hamilton and Campsie 
1564-1823. Inverness 1630-1820. Isles 1661-1824. Kirkcud- 
bright 1663-1823. Lanark 1595-1823. Lauder 1561-1822. 
Moray 1684-1827. Orkney and Shetland 1611-1684. Peebles 
1681-1699. Ross 1802-1824. St. Andrews 1549-1823. Stir- 


ling 1607-1823. Wigtown 1700-1823. Argyllshire Inventories 
1693-1702. List of Consistorial Processes & Decriets in the 
Commissariat of Edinburgh 1658-1800. Indices to the above 
have been printed to 1800 by the Scottish Record Society. 


The General Register from 19 August 1617 to 31 De- 
cember 1868. 

The Particular Register for each county for similar 

New General Register kept in County Divisions since 

Royal Burgh Registers of Sasines. 

These registers contain all deeds relating to the transfer, 
sale or mortgaging of land and of the succession of heirs in 

register OF tailziers, or Entails of Landed Estates from 
1688 to date. 

This gives information as to the various series of heirs who 
are called to the succession by the entailer. 

national protocol books. — Preserved in the General Reg- 
ister House and contain a record of all deeds executed by the 
Notary Public in his profession. Abstracts of the following 
have been printed by the Scottish Record Society, viz : 

Gavin Ros 1512-32. Sir Alexander Gaw 1540-58. 

Sir William Corbet 1529-55. Sir Gilbert Grote 1552-73 

Sir Thomas Johnson 1528-78. 

James Foulis 1546-53. Nicol Mounis 1559-64. 

John Cristison 1518-51. Sir Robert Relloch 1526-52. 

John Foular, town clerk of Edinburgh 1503-28. 

James Young 1485-1815. 

the Scottish record society has published many records. 
These form a most valuable source of information and should 
also be consulted. 



Public Register of all Arms & Bearings in Scotland 1672 
to date. Public Register of all Genealogies and Birth Brieves 
1727 to date. Birth Brieves, Funeral Entries and Es- 
cutcheons from 1672. (Index printed by Scottish Record 

Register of Arms of Sir Robert Forman, Lord Lyon 1554. 

Acts and Decriets of Lyon Court 1629 to date. 

Admission of Messengers at Arms 1630 to date. 

Admission of Heralds & Pursuivants 1660 to date. 

Lyons' Register of Processions, Letters of Precedency, 
Testificatis and Forfeitures 1679. 

Funeral processions and ceremonies, first half of 17th 
century. Petitions for grants and matriculations of Arms 
1819 to date. Unofficial file of pedigrees, searches and notes 
on families, including collections made by Charles Cleland 
Harvey, A. W. Gray Buchanan, Miss Mae Gilchrist-Gil- 
christ and R. R. Stodart. 

List of H. M. Officers of Arms and Other Officials 1218- 
194-5, with genealogical notes. (Printed by Scottish Record 

Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of 
all Arms & Bearings in Scotland, by Sir James Balfour Paul, 
Lyon. (Printed 2nd edition 1903.) 

Ecclesiastical Records. — 

General Assembly Records of the Church of Scotland, Acts 
and Proceedings, 1560-1618. (Printed by Bannatyne and 
Maitland Clubs.) 

Acts 1638-42 (Church Law Society) 

Abridgement of Acts 1638-1810. 

Commissions of Assembly 1647-52. (Scottish History 

Synod Records for 16 Synods. 

Presbytery Records for 93 Presbyteries. 


Kirk Session Records. See list printed in Rev. Thomas 
Burns' The Benefee Lectures, 1905. 

The following Session Registers date from before 1600, viz : 
Crail 1561; Galston 1568; Middle Kirk Perth 1577; Elgin 
1584; Dunbarny 1594; St. Machar, Aberdeen 1596; Preston- 
pans 1596; St. Monans 1597; South Leith 1597; High Kirk, 

A considerable number of books of Court History- have been 
published giving abstracts or portions of these records. (See 
Sources & Literature of Scots Law, published by the Stair 
Society, 1936.) 


to date. 

The following Registers have been printed by the Scottish 
Record Society: 

Holyrood Burial Register 1706-1908. 

Greyfriars, Edinburgh, Burial Register 1656-1700. 

Edinburgh Marriage Register, 2 vols. 1595-1800. 

Canongate Marriage Register 1566-1800. 

Chapel of Birnie and Tillydesk (Episcopal) 1763-1801. 

Torpchichen Parish 1673-1714. 

Restalrig Burials 1728-1854. 

Durness Parish 1764-1814. 

Kilbarchan Parish 1649-1772. 

Dunfermline Parish 1561-1685. 

Melrose Parish 1642-1820. 

Canisbay Parish 1652-1666. 

St. Andrews (Episcopal) 1722-1787. 

Old St. Paul's Edinburgh (Episcopal) 1735-65 (Scottish 
Antiquary IV, V, VI). 

St. Paul's Aberdeen (Episcopal) 1720-93 (Netv Spalding 
Club Miscellany II). 

Stirling Parish 1585-92 (Scottish Antiquary VI, 159 
et seq.). 


Leith (Episcopal) 1738-75 (Scottish Antiquary VIII, 
125, et seq.). 

Brechin (Episcopal) 1796-1819 (Scottish Antiquary XIV, 
96, et seq.). 

Shetland. Register of Rev. John Hunter, Episcopal Minis- 
ter 1736-1745 (Scottish Antiquary , VI). 

Muthill (Episcopal) 1697-1847 (Printed by Rev. A. W. C. 
Wallon (1897)). 

Local Records. — 

sheriff COURT records : These are in the custody of Sheriff 
Clerks in the various Sheriffdoms. The following have been 
printed, viz: 

The Records of the Sheriffdom of Aberdeen 1503-1660 
(New Spalding Club 1904-7). 

Kirkcudbright; Register of Deeds 1623-75. (Printed by 
Marquess of Bute.) Details of these records will be found 
in Sources & Literature of Scots Law, published by Stair 

regality courts and baron courts. — The heritable juris- 
dictions were practically abolished in 1748, when the present 
Sheriff Courts were instituted. Their records are to a certain 
extent in the possession of the families who held them, but 
some are in the General Register House. Details will be 
found in the Sources & Literature of Scots Law, published by 
the Stair Society. 

BURGH records: These are in the possession of various 
Town Clerks throughout the country. They include among 
other registers those of apprentices and Burgess Rolls. The 
Scottish Burgh Record Society has published twenty-two 
volumes dealing with the records of the following Burghs, viz : 
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Peebles, Dundee, Stirling, 
Lanark, etc. 

The Scottish Record Society has printed the following reg- 
isters, viz: 

Edinburgh Apprentice Register 1583-1666, 1666-1755. 

Edinburgh Burgess Roll 1406-1846. 


Glasgow Burgess Rolls 1573-1841. 

Dumbarton Burgess Rolls 1600-1846. 

The New Spalding Club, Aberdeen, has printed the Aber- 
deen Burgess Roll, 1399-1702 (Miscellany I & II). 

The Marquess of Bute has printed the Rothesay Burgh Rec- 
ords 1653-1776, and Stirling Protocol Book 1469-1486 is given 
in Scottish Antiquary X, 55, et seq. The Protocol Books of 
the town clerks of Glasgow 1547-1600 and the Dunfermline 
Burgh Records 1488-1584 have also been printed. 


Charles Dalton's Scots Army (1909) 1661-1688. 

Papers relating to Army, including Muster Rolls of 
different Regiments 1660-1688, in General Register House. 

The Scots Brigade in Holland 1572-1782. (Scottish History 

university records. — Matriculations and rolls of gradu- 
ates of the Universities of Aberdeen (Kings College from 
1495), Edinburgh (from 1583), Glasgow (from 1728), and 
St. Andrews (from 1747) have been printed and may be 
readily located under the name of the university in many 
large libraries. Scots Colleges, Douay, Rome, Madrid, VaU 
ladolid, and Ratisbon 1581-1900, published by the New Spald- 
ing Club gives information on the institutions named. 

Private Records 

Many valuable records are privately owned. The Histori- 
cal Manuscripts Commission has issued Reports (Vols. I to 
XVI) on the Charter Chests of over a hundred families and 
institutions. Others have been published by the Scottish 
Record Society and similar organizations. 



The immediate problem of Americans with regard to their 
Irish ancestors is that few know the parentage of the immi- 
grant. It is of the utmost importance that the genealogist, 
for purposes of identification, shall locate with as much detail 
as possible the geographical origin of an Irish ancestor. A 
thorough preliminary search should be made in the United 
States for records of all classes pertaining to the immigrant 
ancestor, from the time he arrived in the first place of his 
settlement in America until his death. The time and expense 
devoted to an exhaustive preliminary search may save far 
more time and expense in the search of records in Ireland, or 
by correspondence with officials in the repositories of genea- 
logical records in Ireland. For information about his Irish 
origin, a search must be made of family Bibles, church regis- 
ters, Quaker meeting records (if the ancestor was a member 
of the Society of Friends), local histories, family records 
preserved in the historical society of the county where the 
immigrant lived, probate and land records, pension records, 
and passenger lists which are among the sources that may 
throw light on the ancestral home in Ireland. Once that is 
established, the researcher is then in a position to have the 
records of the Irish locality searched. 

Traditions in families of Irish descent often state that a 
man came from one of the seaport cities such as Londonderry, 
Belfast, Larne, Coleraine, Dublin, Cork, etc., and may state 
further that he was employed in one of these seaport cities 
before sailing. Actually, he may have lived many miles from 
the seaport, to which he traveled only for the purpose of sail- 
ing from Ireland. Tradition may be even more confusing 
when it relates that the immigrant ancestor was Irish, but 
emigrated from Liverpool. As early as 1650, it was common 
practice for Irish to travel on small ships from Irish ports to 
Liverpool and then transfer to larger vessels for the long trip 


to America. In this English port city, the Irish might seek 
employment of any kind while awaiting a ship which would 
sail to the American port of choice. An American geneal- 
ogist, unfamiliar with Irish history and customs of trans- 
portation, might accept the specific Liverpool sailing tradition 
but throw out the family tradition of Irish ancestry, being 
unable to relate the seemingly conflicting facts, particularly if 
the immigrant was employed in Liverpool before sailing. 

The exact geographical origin of the Irish ancestor, When 
established, aids not only as an identifying factor, but deter- 
mines the choice of Irish records to be searched. The geo- 
graphical and ecclesiastical structure of Ireland must be 
understood by the genealogist before he attempts original 
Irish genealogical research. 

Locations are indexed and described in the records by 
province, county, barony, diocese, parish, city, town, and 
townland. The names of baronies, dioceses, parishes and 
townlands are not to be found on a modern map of Ireland, 
but are shown in 19th century and earlier maps. Church 
records, whether they be Catholic or Protestant, are indexed 
by diocese and parish. As the established Church of Ireland 
(Episcopalian) until 1857 had ecclesiastical jurisdiction over 
testamentary matters, wills are also indexed by diocese, unless 
the testator owned property of more than five pounds sterling 
in value, in two or more dioceses, in which case the will was 
proved in the Prerogative Court of Ireland under the juris- 
diction of the Archbishop of Armagh. Land records are 
described by county, barony, and city, town, or townland. 
Land outside of cities and towns (acreage), is divided and 
defined by the names of townlands. 

Province: Ireland was in ancient times divided into five 
provinces, or "Fifths". These gradually passed to the several 
divisions which were organized into the present counties. 
Munster, the southernmost province, embraces the counties 
of Cork, Limerick, Kerry, Tipperary, Waterford, and Clare. 
Leinster, the middle and southeastern portion of Eire, in- 
cludes Longford, Westmeath, Meath, Louth, Offaly (Kings 
County), Leix (Queens County), Kildare, Dublin, Carlow, 


Wicklow, Kilkenny, and Wexford. Meath, the modern county 
of which is included in Leinster, was formerly the name of a 
separate province. Connaught, the western province, in- 
cludes the counties of Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Galway, and Ros- 
common. Ulster, the northern province of Ireland, originally 
embraced the nine counties of Donegal, Londonderry, Antrim, 
Fermanagh, Tyrone, Cavan, Monaghan, Armagh, and Down. 

County: The 32 counties are listed above. By the Gov- 
ernment of Ireland Act of 1920, 6 of the 9 counties of Ulster, 
namely Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry 
and Tyrone, remained under the dominion of Great Britain, 
while the 26 remaining counties are now included in the Re- 
public of Ireland. The names of 2 of the counties were 
changed at this time, and the old names appear above in 

Diocese : There are 28 dioceses or ecclesiastical divisions of 
Ireland, dating from early Catholic jurisdiction. The bound- 
aries were little changed as the Established Church became 
the State Church (Episcopal). The boundary of a diocese 
has little or no relation to that of a county, each diocese em- 
bracing parts of from one to six counties and, conversely, 
each county falling in from one to several dioceses. 

The Counties of Ireland and Their Diocesan Jurisdictions 
County includes parts of Diocese 


Connor, Derry, Down, Dromore 


Armagh, Dromore 




Ardagh, Meath, Kilmore 


Killaloe and Kilfenora, Limerick 


Cork and Ross, Cloyne, Ardfert 


Clogher, Derry, Raphoe 


Connor, Down, Dromore, Newry and Mourne 




Clogher, Kilmore 


Clonfert, Elphin, Killaloe, Tuam 




Dublin, Kildare 


Leighlin, Ossory 

Kings (now Offaly) 

Clonfert, Kildare, Killaloe, Meath, 

Ardagh, Kilmore 



Cashel, and Emly, Killaloe, Limerick 


Armagh, Connor, Derry 


Armagh, Meath 


County includes parts of Diocese 

Louth Armagh, Clogher, Drogheda 

Mayo Killala and Achrony, Tuam 

Meath Armagh, Kildare, Kilmore, Meath 

Monaghan Glogher 

Queens (now Leix) Dublin, Kildare, Leighlin, Ossory 

Roscommon Ardagh, Clonfert, Elphin, Tuam 

Sligo Ardagh, Elphin, Killala 

Tipperary Cashel, Killaloe, Waterford and Lismore 

Tyrone Armagh, Clogher, Derry 

Waterford Waterford and Lismore 

West Meath Ardagh, Meath 

Wexford Dublin, Ferns 

Wickiow Dublin, Ferns 

Barony: This is an ancient division of land representing, 
roughly, the past holding of an Irish chieftain. The name of 
the barony was used in land and tax matters as descriptive of 
a district or section of the county. The Down Survey Maps, 
made by Sir William Petty, 1655-59, covering all of Ireland, 
showed it divided into 216 baronies. 

Parish : This is a subdivision of the diocese, under the 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the bishop of the diocese and the 
local incumbent of the parish church. Petty illustrated his 
Down Survey with 2,000 parish maps. 

City and Town : The names of these have changed little 
in the last two hundred years, and are to be found on detailed 
modern maps of Ireland. 

Townland: The Down Survey shows, entered on the 
Barony Maps, some 25,000 place-names, mostly names of 
townlands, which were in fact small subdivisions of the 
barony; being acreage, farms, or family holdings. A place- 
name, said to be the name of the place of birth of the im- 
migrant ancestor, or the location of the family residence, if 
not to be found on a modern map, is probably that of a town- 
land, if not that of a barony, diocese, or parish in which the 
family resided. 

The following publications which may be found in most 
of the larger American genealogical libraries and in the 
American Irish Historical Society Library, New York City, 
will aid in establishing the complete description of the family 


location, if the name of the county and some unfamiliar place- 
name are known. 

Philips* Handy Atlas of the Counties of Ireland, by Bartholomew and 
Joyce, with consulting index, London, 1884. County maps show baronies 
by color; also parishes, and country seats (larger townlands), as well as 
cities, towns, villages, etc. 

Lewis* s Atlas of the Counties of Ireland, London, 1837. This has en- 
graved county maps showing the baronies and parishes, etc. 

Maps showing the relation between the counties and dioceses are to be 
found in the Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners on the Revenues and 
Condition of the Established Church (Ireland), 1868, and Appendix, pub- 
lished as a separate volume. 

A Topographical Index of Parishes and Townlands of Ireland in Sir 
William Petty' s Manuscript Barony Maps (c. 1655-1659), collected and 
edited by Y. M. Goblet, Dublin, 1932. This book has a listing of every 
townland and parish in Ireland at the time the Down Survey Maps were 
made. Few names have changed. Townlands are listed alphabetically, 
giving the parish and county in which they are located. Parishes are 
listed alphabetically, by barony and county. 

The General Alphabetical Index of Townlands and Towns, Parishes and 
Baronies of Ireland, Published with the Census of Ireland, by Alexander 
Thorn, Dublin, 1861. 

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland, 3 vols., Dublin, London, Edin- 
burgh, 1841. This gives a brief description of cities, towns, villages and 
churches, placing them as to parish, diocese, barony and county. 

Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, Its Several Counties, Cities, 
Boroughs, Corporate Market and Post Towns, Parishes and Villages, 2 
vols., by Samuel Lewis, London, 1839. 

Publication of the Census of Ireland, 1761-1872, 2 vols., by the Reg- 
istrar General. 

The Census of Population of Northern Ireland, 1926, Topographical 
Index. (Her Majesty's Stationary Office, Belfast. Reprinted, 1947.) 
The value of this to the genealogist is in the list of counties, baronies, 
parishes, towns and townlands, with cross indexes which make it possible 
to place any townland within its embracing barony, county, parish or 
town boundary, as well as electoral division, registrars district, etc. 

Irish Names of Places, 3 vols., by P. W. Joyce, LL.D., Dublin, 1869, 
1873, 1913. 

Varieties of Synonymes of Sur-names and Christian Names 
in Ireland, by Robert E. Matheson, Dublin, 1890. This was 
compiled for the use of persons working with legal or govern- 
ment records, to show the variations in spelling of each sur- 


name, appearing in various legal and public records or docu- 
ments. Some surnames are spelled in from two to a 
dozen ways, all referring to a single individual. When be- 
ginning work on a family, it is wise to consult this book and 
note all spellings of the surname to make sure no reference 
will be missed in examining indexes. The spelling of the 
surname, Dickson, for example, is interchangeably varied for 
the same family as Dixon, Dixson, Dikeson, Dixsone, etc. 

Before enumerating and describing the more important 
classes of records and the extent and whereabouts of these 
records, a brief review will be made of the repositories which 
have the records most needed by the genealogist. 

The Public Record Office of Ireland, Dublin 

No understanding of the classes, the extent, and the avail- 
ability of genealogical documents in Ireland can be had with- 
out some knowledge of the history and contents of the Public 
Record Offices in Dublin and in Belfast. 

The Public Record Office of Ireland, located in the Four 
Courts, Dublin, was established in 1867. A search by cor- 
respondence will be given attention if accompanied with an 
initial search fee of $3.00 which can be sent by a post office 
money order. The charge will be at the rate of $1.00 per 
hour for genealogical research, record search, and corre- 
spondence, and an extra charge for photostating, certification, 
mailing, etc. (These charges are fairly general throughout 
Ireland and so will not be quoted for other repositories.) 
The initial fee may all be used for an estimate of what further 
work will cost and a report on what specific records are avail- 

The Deputy Keeper of the Records, under the provisions of 
the Public Records (Ireland) Act, 12 August 1867, was re- 
quired to publish an annual Report regarding the work of 
classifying and arranging the records, the nature of the ac- 
cessions, and an index to the documents by name of the prin- 
cipal, date, classification, and location, which were not in- 
cluded in the larger collections, carrying their own indexes. 
These Reports of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records of 


Ireland, published annually from 1869-1921, comprise 52 
volumes with appendices, including extensive indexes. These 
made the public aware of the enormous collections of wills, ad- 
ministrations, deeds (earlier than 1708), leases, marriage rec- 
ords, parish records, chancery court records, census records, 
tithe lists, hearthmoney rolls, subsidy rolls, fiants, Common- 
wealth records, Catholic Qualification rolls, and numerous 
other classes of records. In 1895 and 1899, there were pub- 
lished as appendices, the Indexes to the Act and Grant Books 
and to the Original Wills of the Diocese of Dublin, circa 1635- 
1800; 1800-1858. In over 100,000 entries, the wills, admini- 
strations, marriage license bonds, chancery court records and 
about 30 other classes of records were indexed. The wills and 
intestacies were listed by name, place, occupation, and year 
of probate. The marriage license bonds give the name of 
the groom, bride, year of marriage, residence and occupation 
of the groom. 

In 1922, the Public Record Office in Dublin was burned and 
almost all of the Prerogative and Diocesan Wills, marriage 
records, census records and other classes of records of genea- 
logical interest were destroyed or badly injured. Some valu- 
able collections of records in the fireproof strongroom were 
saved. These included the Lodge Manuscripts, which consist 
of a series of volumes from the Patent Rolls of Henry VII, 
James I, Charles I and Charles II, abstracts of the Catholic 
Convert Rolls, being alphabetical lists of Catholics who re- 
nounced their church (usually temporarily) to avoid perse- 
cution, save their property, or to hold office, etc. There are 
two lists of converts, c. 1703-1772, 1709-1773; and one list, 
1662-1737, of Protestants who, upon coming to Ireland, took 
the Oath of Allegiance. Further details of the Lodge Manu- 
scripts are in the Fifty-Fifth Report, pp. 116-122. 

After the fire, appeals were made throughout Ireland, Eng- 
land, Scotland, and America, for all who had copied the rec- 
ords during the past 53 years, to send their copies or tran- 
scripts, abstracts, or notes, to replace the burned records. 
It was known that a large number of original records (wills, 
marriage records, parish registers, etc.) had never been sent 


to this office and these or copies were requested. The ap- 
peals brought tremendous response. Legal (solicitors') 
offices, governmental, historical and genealogical repositories 
in Ireland and abroad sent original records, transcripts, ab- 
stracts, and notes from the burned records, as gifts or on 
loan for copying. Genealogical collections representing the 
life work of great genealogists such as Betham, Crossle, 
Groves, Sadleir, etc., were given or sold to this office. Indi- 
viduals by the hundreds sent collections of family documents 
covering several generations. Several hundred parish reg- 
isters of baptism, marriage and burial, either original or 
transcripts, were in local custody at the time of the fire, and 
so were available. 

One of the most valuable collections acquired, which for the 
genealogist, repaired the loss of the Prerogative Wills, is the 
great collection of 241 volumes of the Betham Genealogical 
Abstracts. Sir William Betham, Ulster King of Arms, filled 
80 volumes of this collection with abstracts of about 37,000 
Prerogative Wills, 1595-1800, which represented all that were 
proved in the Prerogative Court of Armagh during this 
period. The other volumes were: Two of Kildare Wills, 
1661-1826; 16 of Prerogative marriage licenses, 1629-1801; 
56 of Prerogative administrations, 1595-1800; 4 of Preroga- 
tive marriage licenses, 1629-1800. The last 29 volumes are 
miscellaneous extracts from court records, pedigrees and 
memoranda. An indexed catalogue of the collection is in the 
Public Record Office. Besides these Betham Manuscripts, 
there are 8 volumes of his letters dealing with his genea- 
logical researches and memoranda and extracts on genea- 
logical subjects and other important collections of manuscripts 
which are listed in the Fifty-Eighth Report of the Deputy 
Keeper of the Records, pp. 26, 27. 

As these great collections were being accumulated, indexed, 
and made available to the public, additional Reports were 
published which furnished this information to all who were 
interested. In 1926, The Fifty-Third Report of the Deputy 
Keeper of the Public Records, which had been prepared in 
1922, was published. Between 1928-1936, with the publi- 


cation of the Fifty-Fifth, Fifty-Sixth, and Fifty-Seventh Re- 
ports, and in 1951, the publication of the Fifty-Eighth Report, 
these Reports have served as immensely valuable catalogues 
for the genealogist, of the records now in the Public Record 
Office, Dublin. These may be found in most of the larger 
genealogical libraries of the United States. 

There are also card catalogues, in the public search room, 
and typed indexes to various collections. The card index of 
testamentary documents is very extensive; it indexes many 
thousands of wills, duplicates and official plain copies of wills, 
grants of administrations, and original unproved wills never 
lodged for probate, which became too numerous after 1936 
any longer to index in the Reports. 

The Crossle Family Index, a very large collection, is the 
index to the Philip Crossle Manuscripts, consisting of family 
records, pedigrees, family notes, compiled genealogy, extracts 
from historical magazines, original miscellaneous records, ab- 
stracts of Chancery bills and Equity Exchequer bills and 
answers setting out family relationships, etc. 

The Deeds index is a topographical card index to the deeds 
prior to the establishment of the Registry of Deeds in 1708. 
The enormous number of deeds received among family docu- 
ments, running into thousands, also are indexed. 

The Betham Manuscripts and many others, such as the 
Tenison Groves collection; the Swanzy genealogical abstracts 
of wills, administrations and marriage licenses for Preroga- 
tive Court, 1681-1846; the Monk Mason Manuscripts, be- 
ing abstracts of inquisitions, Counties Dublin and Wicklow, 
Henry IV to Charles II, also the Chichester House Claims 
(with notes on decisions), or before 10 August 1700; the 
Stewart Kennedy notebooks, which contain abstracts of Pre- 
rogative and Diocesan Wills; the Greene Manuscripts, being 
extracts from the Prerogative and Diocesan Wills, Grant 
Books, Parish Registers, and the Prim collection; are all in- 
dexed by the collection. Besides this, such collections as the 
Diocesan Marriage License Bonds are preserved for the 26 
dioceses in index form and are in the public search room. 


The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast 

The most complete collection of genealogical, legal, and 
historical records in the Province of Ulster is deposited in this 
great repository of records, located in the Law Courts Build- 
ing, May Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Inspection of 
the indexes and records is permitted for genealogical, histori- 
cal, or antiquarian research, upon application to the Deputy 
Keeper of the Records. A nominal fee is charged, depending 
upon the number of documents, collections of records, and 
books searched, and the time spent in the office. An initial 
fee of $3.00 (P. 0. money order) is charged for a brief pre- 
liminary survey and written communication. This is not 
refunded. The fee for a more extended search may range 
from $10.00 to $30.00 or more, depending upon the time de- 
voted to the search and the report. This is exclusive of ab- 
stracts, copies, and photostats of any documents which may 
be desired. Certification will be an additional expense. A 
table of fees will be provided upon request. 

At the time of the destruction of the Public Record Office, 
Dublin, in June 1922, almost all of the documents relating to 
Ulster from ancient times, were as yet in that repository and 
were lost in the fire. By the Government Act of 1923, the 
Northern Government set up its own Public Record Office in 
Belfast, which was opened in March 1924. D. A. Chart, M. A. 
LL.D., the first Deputy Keeper of the Public Records of 
Northern Ireland, 1924-1948, a trained archivist, assumed the 
heroic task of trying to make good the loss of the Public Rec- 
ords, so far as it affected Northern Ireland. For half a cen- 
tury, historians, genealogists, solicitors, and representatives 
from other repositories had been copying, making abstracts or 
taking notes from the records. Duplicates of many 17th and 
18th century collections which were burned in 1922 existed in 
other repositories or in private hands, and much material had 
been published. Consequently, when Mr. Chart and his staff 
made the same appeal as that made by the Dublin Record 
Office, throughout Ireland, England, Scotland, and America, 
for transcripts, abstracts, manuscript collections, printed rec- 
ords, original records, all forms of compiled genealogical 


manuscripts, church records, and in fact any copy of any rec- 
ord ever lodged in the old Dublin Record Office, the response, 
judging from the Reports of the Deputy Keeper of the Public 
Records of Northern Ireland, and the size of the card index 
files, catalogue indexes, etc. — has been tremendous beyond be- 
lief. These Reports are indexed catalogues of collections, and 
all classes of legal records, etc., make the most fascinating 
reading to anyone interested in Ulster genealogy. The many 
records, other than normal increments, are listed and indexed 
in the Reports of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records of 
Northern Ireland, beginning with the First Annual Report of 
192U. These are available in the larger libraries. 

The Sir Bernard Burke collection of 42 volumes of pedi- 
gree charts is here. These were not the original work of 
Burke, but were copied by or for Sir Bernard Burke for his 
personal use while Ulster King of Arms, following Betham, 
from the 39 volumes of Sir William Betham's pedigree charts, 
which are in the Genealogical Office, Dublin Castle, Dublin. 
Burke's Copies of Betham's charts do not have his valuable 
notations, which appear to be additional information which 
he gathered from other sources. These pedigree charts are 
easily available to anyone who wishes to send for a photo- 
stat of one or more, for a published index to every Prerogative 
Will which has been charted is available. This is the Index 
to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536-1810, edited by Sir 
Arthur Vicars, when Ulster King of Arms. Dublin: 1897. 
It is in all large genealogical libraries in the United States. 

In December 1956, the Ulster-Scot Historical Society was 
organized and largely sponsored by the Government of North- 
ern Ireland, with a President and Council, of which Kenneth 
Darwin, Deputy Keeper of the Public Records of Northern 
Ireland, is a member and Honorary Director. The stated 
purpose of the society is to assist persons of Ulster ancestry 
to trace facts about their Ulster ancestors. This is in effect 
a new and better organized way of taking care of genealogi- 
cal research among the records of the Public Record Office 
of Northern Ireland. 


The Ulster-Scot Historical Society is located in the Law 
Courts Building, Chichester Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland. 
A registration fee of $3.00 for an initial search is not return- 
able. The Society states that no guarantee of success can 
be made and that the average search and report should not 
exceed $9.00 and a more difficult search should not normally 
exceed $30.00. Failure to produce a proven line of Irish 
ancestry through this Society must not dissappoint the 
searcher to the point of stopping the work, for it does not 
establish the fact that there are no records of the family in 
the Public Record Office in Belfast. The failure would more 
probably be due to the fact that the connecting links between 
the emigrant ancestor and his family are not in this office. 
There may be numerous records of various classes or a pedi- 
gree or history of the family of his surname who lived in the 
right locality but these records do not identify the emigrant. 
However, these seemingly unrelated records may be used as a 
clue or guide to further research in other repositories of rec- 
ords such as the Registry of Deeds in Dublin. 

Registry of Deeds, Dublin 

The Registry of Deeds, Henrietta Street, Dublin, is open to 
the public. The records here are complete from 1708. These 
include memorials of deeds, leases of over three years, mort- 
gages, foreclosures, marriage settlements, partitions, assign- 
ments, and memorials of wills presented at the time of estate 
settlements where property is involved. In many respects, 
these records offer the most certain way of identifying an emi- 
grant and in general, where genealogical work has not been 
done for a family, offer the most rewarding results of any 
original research in Ireland. Land in Ireland, as in England, 
was largely owned in estates of several hundred or several 
thousand acres, and from the early days was leased to tenants 
on long or short term leases, many holding leases which were 
assigned from father to son over a period of "61 years, or 
three lives, whichever period was longer." Some leases were 
in perpetuity. The genealogical value in the leases is that 
each time a transfer of the property was made from one 


person to another by assignment, a fee was paid to the land- 
lord and a recital was recorded, as to each person who had 
held the lease and his right to hold it within the term of the 
lease. Relationships, often for three or more generations are 
stated. The shorter term leases are to be found in the Estate 
offices of the landlords who owned the property. Many of 
the early estate records have been gathered in to the Public 
Record Offices. As marriage settlements were common in 
Ireland among the people of even modest means, these often 
yield information on the parentage of the bride or groom and 
the brothers and sisters whose portion may be mentioned. 

The records are indexed in two ways: The Name Index of 
grantors, is arranged alphabetically in periods of from about 
20 years from 1708, to lesser periods of about 10 years each 
when there were more records registered per year. The name 
of the grantee appears in the index opposite that of the grant- 
or but with no given name shown. Instruments are listed 
by number. Locations are not included in this index until 
1833. Thus, if the leases or other records are wanted for the 
period 1708-1729, for the Dickson family, the work begins 
with examining all of the records under given names known 
in the family. The Lands (or Place) Index, under counties, 
provides an index to all transactions, by date and geo- 
graphical location. This facilitates the tracing of the history 
of tenure or ownership of any given piece of property. 

The Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, has microfilmed 
122 reels of the Navies Index, 1708-1904, and 283 reels of the 
Place Index or Lands Index, 1708-1904. By securing from 
this Index in Salt Lake City the reference to identify desired 
records, copies may be ordered from Dublin. Using the 
above Names Index microfilm, the author ordered copies of 
records, thus: "Taken from film No. 2004. Records 1708- 
1729. Dickson, William, to Coates. Vol. 38, p. 282. No. 
24244." This last number is the number of the instrument 
and must be given if a copy is ordered. Certified copies may 
be ordered at about $1.00 per page plus mailing charges. An 
estimate will be given upon request. 


Office of the Registrar General, Customs House, Dublin 

The registration of births, marriages and deaths, has been 
compulsory in Ireland since January 1864. These records 
may be found in this Office. Also on deposit are the records 
of all Protestant marriages since 1845. 

The Genealogical Office, Dublin Castle, Dublin 

The Genealogical Office, Dublin Castle, now a department 
of the National Library of Ireland, is not open to the public 
for genealogical work. This office, formerly the Office of 
Arms, under Ulster King of Arms, was created by Edward VI 
in 1553. In 1943, the office of Ulster King of Arms was trans- 
ferred from Dublin to London where it was united with that 
of Norroy. At this time the original records making up the 
great collections in this office, were retained at the Genea- 
logical Office, Dublin Castle, but photographic copies of the 
records of the Ulster Office were made for the College of 
Arms, London. 

Mr. Gerard Slevin, per pro Chief Herald and Genealogical 
Officer, is the present director of the Office. A first inquiry 
should be accompanied with a P. 0. money order for $3.00, in 
response to which pedigree blanks will be sent to fill out for 
two or three generations for a start on Irish records. 

Space does not permit to a list of the records here, but 
among them are: The pedigree charts made by Sir William 
Betham which fill 39 large volumes; these were made by 
Betham from his abstracts of the Prerogative wills of Ire- 
land, 1536-1800, in the Public Record Office, Dublin. The 
manuscript collections are represented by such men as Bew- 
ley, Cavenagh, Crossle, Davis, Donovan, Drought, Fisher, Ir- 
win, Kelly, Molony, Sadleir, Swanzy, and Welply. In these 
collections are will and administration abstracts, numbering 
about 7,500, which are indexed alphabetically by name, with 
place of residence, county (or diocese) and year. This 
printed index was published in Analecta Hibernica, by the 
Irish Manuscript Commission, No. 17, Dublin, 1949. There 
are 701 volumes of manuscripts, 300-600 pages, and 23 legal 
size boxes containing collections of original documents and 


family records. Some of the early records are: "Visita- 
tions", for Dublin, 1568, 1607, and Wexford, 1618; 8 volumes 
of Ulster grants of Arms; 4 volumes of Knights' Arms; 27 
volumes of Record Pedigrees ; 10 volumes of Peers' Pedigrees 
and other entries; 2 volumes of Baronets' Pedigrees; 13 vol- 
umes of Warrants; Funeral Certificates, 1588-1698, which 
contain the name of the deceased, their Arms, place of burial, 
marriage and issue ; Inquisitions Post Mortem commence with 
the reign of Elizabeth I (a few in time of Henry VIII, and 
later), and come down to Charles II, 1550-1690. These set 
out the property of which the deceased died seized, naming 
descendants and rights to inheritance. Ulster and Leinster 
Inquisitions were printed in 1826. The Munster and Con- 
naught Inquisitions are here in transcript. Freeholders' 
Lists show parentage and some marriages. The Fermanagh 
Poll Book, 1788, gives the abodes of some 3,500 voters. The 
Dublin Consistorial Marriage Licenses up to 1820 (copy im- 
perfect), and copies of Prerogative Marriage licenses up to 
1811 are here, also Prerogative Grants of Administration to 
1802 for Ulster. Other collections are: Abstracts of Grants 
under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation, 1666-1684; 
Index to the Inrolments for Adventurers Soldiers, etc., 1666 ; 
transcripts of the Hearth-money Rolls, c. 1666, for various 
counties; John Lodge's abstracts from Patent Rolls, also ab- 
stracts from Chancery Rolls; the Carew manuscripts, cover- 
ing the Commonwealth period, etc. This office has copies of 
the Religious Census of Ireland, 1766, for scattered parts of 
Ireland. Transcripts of the destroyed Census Records of 
Ireland have been gathered whenever possible. 

Libraries, Ireland 

The National Library of Ireland. — This great library 
located on Kildare Street, Dublin, has the largest and most 
complete collection of regional, county and town histories, 
parish histories, also the publications of the Royal Society of 
Antiquaries of Ireland and the Journals of the Cork, Galway, 
Kerry, Kildare, Louth, Ulster, and Waterford Historical and 
Archaelogical Societies, and the Limerick Field Club. All of 


these publications are rich in genealogical material, family 
history, printed pedigrees and biography. The Tithe Allot- 
ment Books of over 200 parishes in Northern Ireland and a 
large collection for other counties, c. 1820-1830 and 1834-1837, 
constitute in effect a census of property owners and occupiers 
for the period. Griffith's Valuation of Ireland, 18H-1856, is 
a survey of property in Ireland, by Poor Law Unions within 
the counties, listing occupants and holdings. The collection 
of old newspapers here contains notices of births, marriages, 
deaths, emigrations, sailings, business matters. The especial- 
ly valuable Freeman's Journal is being indexed. 

This library has been very active in acquiring microfilms of 
all records of interest to the library, from manuscripts in 
libraries and archives in Ireland and abroad. The Report of 
the Council of Trustees, National Library of Ireland, for 1950- 
1951, is the third consecutive report on accessions of micro- 
filmed material, 123 pp. An appendix contains 90 pages, list- 
ing microfilms in the year ending June 1952. Among these 
are 127 films of the collections of the Genealogical Office; 4 
films of all the records of the Dublin Society of Friends ; 120 
films of the Parish Registers of 12 of the Catholic dioceses. 
Indexes for the Historical and Archaelogical Society journals, 
containing much genealogy, which have not had a master in- 
dex, have been so indexed and the cards microfilmed. The 
two extensive indexes to the records in the Registry of Deeds 
are microfilmed and copies deposited here. Many other 
microfilms listed in the above Report are of genealogical 
interest. The collection of town and city directories for all 
of Ireland is most complete. A good collection of published 
genealogies is also in this library. 

Trinity College Library. — This very old library has many 
special manuscript collections of genealogical interest. Vari- 
ous catalogues of the records have been printed. Robert H. 
Murray published A Short Guide to Some Manuscripts in the 
Library of Trinity College, Dublin, 1920. An earlier guide 
was published in 1854. Some of the collections are : One of 
the most complete collections of old newspapers in the country ; 


the Stewart Kennedy Notebooks, being a collection of extracts 
from 500 wills of Ulster testators, made at the Public Record 
Office, Dublin, before the fire ; a collection of early wills, 1457- 
1483; a manuscript collection of 16th and 17th century pedi- 
grees, bound in several volumes ; a detailed list of people who 
fled to Chester, England, 1688, with records of the number in 
each family and value of estates ; depositions of those who suf- 
fered losses in the 1641 Rebellion, also depositions of County 
Cork (for losses), 1653-1654, 6 vols.; Alumni Dublinenses, by 
Burtchaell and Sadlier, London, 1924, published from manu- 
scripts; lists students, graduates, professors, and provosts of 
Trinity College, 1593-1846; alphabetically listed, the father, 
place of birth, earlier tutor, age upon entry, degree and date 
granted, and section of the college attended, are given for each 
student enrolled. 

The Royal Irish Academy. — This library, rich in old 
manuscript collections, at 19 Dawson Street, Dublin, is open 
to the public. Its holdings are described in A Catalogue of 
Irish Manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy, by Elizabeth 
Fitzpatrick and Dr. Kathleen Mulchrone, assisted by A. I. 
Pearson, Dublin, 1948, pp. 586. This is another old library, 
rich in records for compiling genealogy. Some of its special 
records are: Ordinance Survey Records, 1833-1834; 1835- 
1837, etc., dealing with the parishes of Ulster, describing 
places and giving miscellaneous information, such as names 
of people who emigrated to America (name, age, religion (R. 
C. or P.), townland on which they lived, year of emigration, 
and city in United States or Canada where each intended to 
settle) ; many 17th and 18th century pedigrees in manuscript ; 
Books of Survey and Distribution compiled in 1677, by 
Thomas Taylor (this survey was ordered to have records of 
names of the proprietors of property in Ireland before the 
Rebellion of 1640, and record of new proprietors to whom the 
estates were granted by the Commonwealth) ; a large collection 
of lists of Freeholders; the Wendele manuscripts, being 190 
volumes containing pedigrees of Leinster and Munster fami- 
lies; and a large collection of newspapers. (The Freemans' 


Journal, also called The Public Monitor, 1772-1773, a rare 
weekly paper, gave much personal news and is full of genea- 
logical notes.) 

Library of the Representative Church Body. — This 
library, located at 52, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, has a mass 
of documents, original and transcribed, relating to every dio- 
cese in Ireland. Transcribed Parish Registers, made by Teni- 
son Groves in the Public Record Office before the fire, are here, 
as is a catalogue of the manuscripts (24 pages), published in 
Dublin in 1938, by the Rev. J. B. Leslie. 

Public Libraries. — These are too numerous to list. Es- 
pecially good ones, having fine genealogical collections, are 
in some of the larger cities such as Cork, Limerick, etc. The 
County libraries vary. The County Library of Cork has a 
fine collection. Mr. J. P. Madden, Director, is most inter- 
ested in genealogical records. The University Library, Cork 
(Mr. Cahill, Librarian), also has a fine genealogy section. A 
Catalogue of the Irish Library, University College, Cork, 1914, 
lists the older collections of this library. In the vault are kept 
the manuscript collection Apprentice Indentures Enrolling 
Book, 17 Jan. 1756 — 4 Dec. 1801, transcribed alphabetically 
by Richard Caulfield. 

Some Libraries of Northern Ireland 

Presbyterian Historical Society Library. — This Libra- 
ry, located on Fisherwick Place, Belfast, has gathered a large 
collection of published, original and transcribed church rec- 
ords. Many of these records are also in other repositories but 
this is a focal center for the study of Presbyterian Church 
Registers and records. Based on a questionnaire sent to all 
Presbyterian Ministers, a card file has been created catalogu- 
ing the condition and extent of church Registers. This re- 
cords the inclusive dates of baptism and marriage Registers 
in 357 such Registers; there are no records of burials in the 
Registers. Some original manuscripts copied in the Public 
Record Office before the fire for the Presbyterian Historical 
Society are: 


Petitions As To Dissenters, to the Irish Parliament or Lord Lieuten- 
ant, 1704-1782; Copied from the Parliamentary Papers, Bundle 28, Nos. 
1-42; 50-100; 195-211. This list includes the names of Protestant house- 
holders, dissenters from the Church of Ireland, who signed petitions. 
The most complete Roll was taken in October and November, 1775. The 
enrollment was by borough, town, parish and county. 

Parliamentary Returns Concerning Religion, The Protestant House- 
holders in Antrim, Londonderry and Donegal, 1740, copied from No. 647, 
bundle 75. This lists the householders by county, barony, and town or 
borough, each householder being numbered. This constitutes a census of 
the Protestants of the locations included. 

Parluvmentary Returns Concerning Religion, No. 650, or the Reli- 
gious Census of 1766. This manuscript concerns Ulster; it is incomplete. 

Publications of some value in tracing the family of a 
Presbyterian minister are: Fasti of the Irish Presbyterian 
Church, 1613-1840, compiled by the Rev. James McConnell, 
revised by the Rev. S. G. McConnell, Belfast, 1951. Arranged 
in seven periods, with final chapter regarding "Ministers of 
Irish Origin Who Labored in America During the Eighteenth 
Century", it gives some biographical and vital records and, 
in some cases, the parentage of the ministers. Records of the 
General Synod of Ulster, 1601-1820, (3 vols., Belfast, 1890, 
1897, 1898), contains information regarding the church ses- 
sions, the appointments, etc., of the ministers, and the repre- 
sentative elders. 

The Manuscript Church Sessions Books are records of 
the minutes of the meetings of the various local governing 
bodies of the congregations. Problems of business and dis- 
cipline were recorded, providing information about members. 
Many of these original Sessions books are in the library of the 
Presbyterian Historical Society; others are in Magee College 
Library, Londonderry. 

Linen Hall Library on Donegall Square, Belfast, has 
many genealogies, published mostly for families of Northern 
Ireland. A catalogue was published in 1917. 

The Armagh Public Library — A catalogue of the manu- 
scripts was published in 1928. Situated in the Cathedral City 
of Armagh, its collections have become of great value to the 


County Museum, Armagh — Original records have been 
deposited here in the past, such as pedigrees, leases, grants, 
probates, intestacies, rentals, also Prerogatives and Dromore 
wills, 1685-1896. 

Magee University College Library situated on the campus 
of Magee University College, Londonderry, has extensive rec- 
ords of interest to the genealogist. The librarian, T. McC. 
Walker, is also a member of the Committee of the Cathedral 
of St. Columbs, Londonderry. 

Parish Records, Established Church of Ireland 

The records of baptism, marriage, and burial were kept 
in registers by the local rectors. According to Acts of Parlia- 
ment of 1875 and 1876, all parish registers of baptism and 
burial prior to 30 December 1870, and marriages prior to 31 
March 1845, of the Church of Ireland, were constituted Public 
Records and were to be deposited in the Public Record Office, 
Dublin. By Amendment of the Act, the clergy of all parishes 
who could show evidence of a safe place of local custody for 
their parish registers, were allowed to retain their records 
in their respective parishes, under retention orders. Of 
1,643 parishes with parish registers, those of 1,006 parishes 
were sent to the Public Record Office from all parts of Ire- 
land. However, transcripts of many registers were made by 
the local rectors before sending in the original records. In 
1922, the burning of the Public Record Office in Dublin de- 
stroyed all but four of the parish registers. The problem of 
tracing the records still in existence was undertaken for the 
26 counties of Southern Ireland, by the Public Record Office, 
Dublin, while those in the 6 counties of Northern Ireland were 
traced by that Record Office in Belfast. The various Reports 
of both Record Offices show, up to 1952-1953, what has hap- 
pened to the records and also list the inclusive dates of 
baptisms, marriages and burials in each existing register. 
The Public Record Office, Belfast, has been photostating or 
microfilming the registers called in for temporary inspection 
or repair, before they are returned to local custody. As of 
the Report of the Dublin Office, 1951-2, the existing records 


are : Original Parish Records still in local custody, 457 ; those 
deposited in the Public Record Office, Dublin, 12; transcripts 
of original records in local custody, 104 parishes; transcripts 
in the Public Record Office, 30 parishes ; extensive extracts of 
parish records in the Public Record Office, 75 parishes; 
printed registers for 29 parishes. A list of these with name 
of the parish, diocese, county, inclusive dates of the records, 
has been prepared. In Northern Ireland, there are 236 
parishes with original registers in local custody; 116 parishes 
have allowed their registers to be copied by the Public Record 
Office, Belfast; 4 parishes have printed registers. The Re- 
ports of both Public Record offices, published since 1922, will 
show what registers are available, where they are and the 
inclusive dates. 

The Memorials of the Dead, 13 vols., Dublin (1888-1921), 
published by the Association for Preservation of the Me- 
morials of the Dead in Ireland, was continued by its successor 
organization as the Irish Memorials Association, from 1921- 
1932. This work contains information regarding parishes, 
churches, burial grounds, mural tablets, and many thousands 
of inscriptions on tombstones, lists of births, deaths, and 
marriages, and in some cases genealogical records for several 
generations of one family. Accompanying the above volumes 
are : A Consolidated Index of Surnames and Place-Names, for 
volumes I-VII, compiled by Vigors and Mahony, Dublin, 1914 ; 
An Index of the Churchyards and Buildings, Dublin, 1909; 
Index of Personal and Place-Names in Vol. XI; Index to the 
Parish Register Section of Vol. XI; Coats of Arms from The 
Funeral Entries, Vols. VII and VIII. The latter volume of 
270 pages, with a good index, continues the publication of 
Coats of Arms taken from tombstones and funeral entries, 
begun in the Irish Memorials Association journals. Some 
817 funeral entries are copied from various sources, including 
the British Museum, the legal survivors given. No genea- 
logical work with Irish records is complete without an exami- 
nation of the above publications. 

The Parish Register Society of Dublin became active at 
about the turn of the century. The purpose of this Society, 


approved by the Master of the Rolls in Ireland, was to publish 
the more important and older surviving registers, beginning 
v/ith those of Dublin, more especially those not deposited in 
the Record Office. The registers of the City of Dublin, be- 
sides containing the records of many of the old city families, 
are of great importance to those investigating scattered 
branches of the English families as well as origins of Ameri- 
can and Colonial settlers. The early works published by the 
Society numbered 11 volumes, containing baptism, marriage 
and burial records. In 1921, this Society became incorpo- 
rated with The Irish Memorials Association. Between 1921 
and 1932, a section of each of The Irish Memorials Association 
publications was devoted to the printing of Dublin Parish 

The Indexes to the Marriage License Bonds which were 
filed in the Public Record Office, Dublin, were fortunately 
saved from the fire and are almost as valuable as the original 
records, as the names of the contracting parties, their place of 
residence, and the year of marriage, appear in alphabetical 
order for both bride and groom. The following indexes, 
copied from those in the Public Record Office have been pub- 
lished : 

The Index to the Marriage License Bonds of the Diocese 
of Cork and Ross, Ireland, 1623-1750, edited by Herbert W. 
Gillman, Cork 1896-7. This contains the listing of about 
11,840 presumptive evidence of marriages. 

The Index to the Marriage License Bonds of the Diocese 
of Cloyne, Ireland, 1630-1800, edited by T. George H. Green, 
Cork, 1899-1900. This contains the listing of about 8,686 
records as above. It also contains The Table of Parochial 
Records — Diocese of Cloyne. These were copied from The 
Twenty-Eighth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public 
Records, Dublin. One hundred and twenty parishes were 
listed, with the inclusive dates of the baptism, marriage and 
burial records, in each parish. 

Irish Marriages, Being an Index to the Marriages in 
Walker's Hibernian Magazine, 1771-1812, 2 vols., by Henry 


Farrar, London, 1897. Some nine thousand marriages in- 
dexed, give name of groom, bride, place, date, and in some 
cases, parentage. 

Roman Catholic Parish Registers 

Catholic parish registers are now being microfilmed in the 
National Library of Ireland. The work began in July 1950, 
with the plan of filming every Catholic Register of Ireland. 
There is at present no complete list of all registers. The 
library lists them as they are brought in for filming, and the 
list will be published at the end of the filming. The films are 
not available to the public, but the Genealogical Office, Dublin 
Castle, may use them. The dates of the registers vary 
greatly. The records tend to extend to earlier dates in the 
good farmland areas, like Tipperary, than in the poorer dis- 
tricts such as Galway. They are also of earlier dates in the 
towns than in the purely agricultural areas. The larger 
towns of 5,000 population and on up, have records beginning 
about 1790. In larger cities of about 25,000 population and 
upwards, the records begin about 1750. In good agricultural 
areas, they begin about 1820, and in the poorer areas, about 
1835-40. These are average figures, given with the above in- 
formation by Dr. Richard J. Hayes, Director of the National 
Library of Ireland. 

The parish registers of Northern Ireland, presently in 
local custody, are only 68 in number, the records of baptism, 
marriage and dates of missing periods being recorded. The 
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast, has made 
copies. The earliest dates appear to be 1744; most begin 
about 1835. 

Records of the Society of Friends 

The Dublin Society of Friends (Quakers) at Dublin Friends 
House, 6 Eustace Street, has records of births, marriages, and 
deaths, to 1859 for Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Edebderry, Grange, 
Lisburn, Limerick, Lurgan. Moate, Mountmellick, Richhill, 
Youghal (city), and Counties Tipperary, Waterford, Wex- 
ford, Wicklow; also throughout Ireland of births 1859-1949; 


marriages 1859-1887, 1893-1947 ; and deaths 1859-1900, 1909- 

The Friends Records of Northern Ireland, housed in 
Friends House, Lisburn, are extensive. They have been 
copied by the Public Record Office, Belfast, and an account of 
the nature of the records, inclusive dates, and an extensive 
index to the personal records, are printed in the Report of the 
Deputy Keeper, 1951-1953. 

Records of the Huguenot Church 

The published Huguenot Registers are: Registers of the 
French Conformed Churches of St. Patrick and St. Mary, 
Dublin, 1668/9-1830 ; edited by J. J. Digges La Touche, for The 
Huguenot Society of London (vol. 7). Registers of the 
French Non-Conformist Churches of Lucy Lane and Peter 
Street, Dublin, 1701-31 ; 1771-1831 ; edited by T. P. Le Fanu, 
for the Huguenot Society of London. Registers of the 
French Church of Portarlington, 1694-1816; edited by T. P. 
Le Fanu, for the Huguenot Society of London. 

Some Huguenot histories which contain genealogical and 
historical notes and biography of Huguenot families and 
their settlements in Ireland : The History of the Huguenot 
Settlers in Ireland and Other Literary Remains, by Thomas 
Gimlette, with maps and plates, 1888. The Huguenots, by 
Samuel Smiles, 1889. The Huguenots in Ulster, by R. A. 
McCall, 1915. The Huguenot Settlements in Ireland, by 
Grace L. Lee, London, 1936. 

Records of the Methodist Church 

Methodist vital records are practically non-existent in Ire- 
land before 1850, except as they appear in the registers of the 
Church of Ireland. For the same reason as for all dissenters, 
in order to conform to the law, the rites of baptism, marriage 
and burial were performed or recorded by the rector of the 
Established Church of Ireland in his parish. In the early 
days, the Methodists had neither churches nor consecrated 
ground for the burial of their dead ; consequently, a search for 
their records and earlier family vital records must be made in 


the church registers of the parish in which they lived. See 
Parish Records of the Established Church of Ireland. 

Town and City Directories are valuable in locating indi- 
viduals. The directories of Belfast began in 1812. The 
Gentleman's and Citizens Almanac, Dublin, for John Watson. 
1736, 1759, 1760, 1765, 1771, and thereafter every year or so. 
A Brief Directory of Cork, 1758. Also for 1769-1770. Lucas' 
Directory of Some of the South East Ireland Towns, 1821. 
Piggott's Directory, 1824, lists men in the towns by profes- 
sion. Thorn's Directory, 1848-1864, A Directory to the Mar- 
ket Towns, Villages, Gentleman's Seats and Other Noted 
Places in Ireland, 2nd ed. by Ambrose Leet, 1814. 

Tax Rolls 

Hearth-money Rolls. — These list all householders in 
Ireland, by barony, parisli, town or corporation, with the 
number of hearths or other places used for fires within each 
householder's premises, each hearth being taxed at the legal 
rate of two shillings sterling. The taxes were levied between 
1663-1669 and are valuable for locating a family. These 
rolls were burned in the Public Record Office fire in 1922; 
however, they had been copied extensively in the half century 
before the fire. Many county histories published such rolls. 
Those for County Tipperary were published by Thomas Laf- 
fan, Dublin, 1911. Many manuscript transcripts for various 
counties are in the Public Record Office, Dublin, and in the 
Public Record Office, Belfast. 

Subsidy Rolls. — These were the tax records which relate 
to the more prosperous class of people and the Rolls, taken by 
county, indicate its taxable wealth. These Rolls provide 
names of persons who possessed enough property to be liable 
to the tax, which constituted the chief manner of direct tax- 
ation in the late 17th century. The Rolls for County Down, 
1663, are all that exist for Northern Ireland, except for 
partial lists which appear in various publications. The Down 
Rolls are in manuscript in the Public Record Office and the 
Presbyterian Historical Society, Belfast. 


The Tithe Lists, for the Church of Ireland tax, have 
been mentioned. 

"Census" Records 

The Census of Ireland, 1659, edited by Seamus Pender, 
published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission. There is 
some evidence to indicate that this census of individuals in Ire- 
land was, in fact, an abstract of the Poll Tax. The fact that 
no ministers are mentioned (ministers being exempt from 
the tax) ; also, all under 15 being excluded, supports this con- 

The Civil Survey of 1654-1656, published by the Dublin 
Stationery Office, for the Irish Manuscripts Commission, 
1937. The entire survey covered 27 of the 32 counties, listing 
landlords, tenants and lands, with a particular account of 
Irish and English tenures of 1640. A certified copy of the 
original is in the Royal Irish Academy. 

Naturalization: The Scots in Ulster, Their Denization 
and Naturalization, 1605-1634, parts 1 and 2, by the Rev. 
David Stewart, D.D., 1952-53. This is a list of the early Scot- 
tish settlers in Ulster, both landlords and tenants, with the 
name, residence, and date of naturalization of each. The list, 
extracted from the Ulster Inquisitions, and other sources, ap- 
pears to be far from complete. Another extract giving in- 
formation on Londonderry is A Particular of the Howses and 
Famylyes of Londonderry, May 15, 1628, published 1936. It 
contains the list of householders with acreage and rent 

The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland, by John Prender- 
gast, 2nd ed., Dublin, 1875, names the Irish landlords, with 
occupants, who were forced to abandon their lands to the 
English Adventurers, and those of Cromwell's Army who 
were to receive land in payment for service. Adventurers, 
numbering 1,360 classified by rank, occupation, residence and 
price of land, are listed. 

Muster Rolls, 1631. — One of the conditions of the Planta- 
tion of Ulster was that the undertakers should muster their 


tenants periodically and parade them before the government 
muster master, who set down the names and arms of each 
person. The lists of 1631 are extant and the Presbyterian 
Historical Society possesses a copy. The persons enrolled 
were between 16 and 60 years of age, being capable of bearing 
arms. All were Protestants, and for 9 counties numbered 
13,092. (See Stafford's Letters and Despatches, vol. 1, p. 
199.) There was also a yeomanry of about 2,600, enrolled 
from all the counties of Ulster and a permanent garrison at 
Carrickfergus, just above Belfast. (See Pynner's "Survey 
of the Plantations", made in 1618-1619, published in Harris* 

Army Lists, 1642. — Ten years after the aforementioned 
muster, the men were mustered for active service in the sup- 
pression of the Rebellion begun in October 1641. The Rolls 
of each regiment are extant, giving the companies, officers, 
and men, and thus forms a sequel to the muster of 1631. The 
Presbyterian Historical Society has a copy. 

Government Census of Ireland. — One of the worst loss- 
es of the fire in the Public Record Office, Dublin, was the 
destruction of almost all of the Census Returns of 1813, 1821, 
1831, 1841 and 1851; also for each 10-year period from then 
to 1922. However, great numbers of transcripts have come 
to light. The Reports of the Public Record Offices of Dublin 
and Belfast, have listed all collections of the records which 
have been found. 


Irish wills, 1536-1858, fall into two classes: Prerogative 
wills and diocesan wills. Prerogative wills were those proved 
in the Prerogative Court, owing to the deceased having died 
possessed of property above the value of five pounds sterling 
in each of two or more dioceses. The Prerogative Court was 
presided over by the Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of all 
Ireland. The courts of the 28 dioceses were called Con- 
sistorial Courts, each being under the jurisdiction of the 
Bishop of the Diocese. Before 1857, the wills which disposed 
of property in but one diocese were proved in its Consistorial 


Court, and were termed Diocesan Wills. In 1857, the ec- 
clesiastical jurisdiction over testamentary matters was 
abolished and a Court of Probate established. From this 
time on, wills, administrations, and all testamentary records 
were automatically deposited in the care of the Master of the 
Rolls, in the Public Record Office, Dublin. All of the above 
Prerogative and Diocesan Wills were also gathered there. 

All will books and original wills, housed in the Public 
Record Office, Dublin, were burned in 1922, except those 
books containing copies of Prerogative Wills for the years 
1664-1684, 1706-1708, 1726-1729, and portions of 1777, 1813 
and 1834, which are still there. However, the loss of the 
Prerogative Wills prior to 1800 was largely repaired for the 
genealogist due to the fact that, as previously stated, Sir Wil- 
liam Betham had compiled from the Prerogative Wills of Ire- 
land what he termed his "Genealogical Analysis" of all Pre- 
rogative Wills of Ireland, 1536-1800. Also, about 5,000 Grants 
of Administration Intestate were abstracted by Betham. All 
abstracts were used for constructing his pedigree charts. As 
these charts were made for genealogical purposes, dates and 
geographical locations were included when the information 
was mentioned in the will. In the case of the Burke tran- 
scripts (see p. 354), vols. 1 and 2 are arranged somewhat 
haphazardly; vols. 3 and 4 show a planned system, dealing 
with the wills of dates earlier than 1700, arranged in alpha- 
betical order. Each of Burke's volumes is indexed. The 
charts from the wills earlier than 1700 are not in perfect 
alphabetical sequence. The later volumes, 5 through 42, con- 
tain the charts of the wills, 1700-1800, being arranged in 
alphabetical order. Each volume is indexed, both as to names 
of testators and alliances recorded in the wills. An ad- 
ditional index volume of names of testators and persons whose 
property was subject to Grants of Administration, for the 
same period to 1800, has been compiled. The wills indexed 
in Vicars' Index named above, are thought to be all represented 
in the Betham and Burke collections, up to 1800. This makes 
it possible for anyone to consult Vicars' Index, and write for 
copies of charted wills. 


The Diocesan Will books, which escaped the fire are those 
for Connor, 1818-1820, 1853-1858, and for Down, 1850-1858. 
Otherwise, aside from the Diocesan Wills which have been 
discovered in private collections or in other repositories, only 
the Indexes remain. However, as previously stated, the re- 
covery of thousands of legal or plain copies, abstracts, and 
notes from these Diocesan Wills, has rebuilt the destroyed 
Diocesan Wills to a considerable extent. Thus, the Indexes 
to the Diocesan Wills are valuable, both for the information 
provided in the Indexes and as a guide to what wills may be 
sought in collections of transcribed wills or abstracts. The 
Indexes show the name of the testator, the year of the pro- 
bate, and the location. These Indexes also furnish clues for 
checking land records for an estate partition, a transfer of a 
lease from testator to heir, etc. 

The published Diocesan Indexes are as follows : A Calendar 
of Wills in the Dioceses of Ossory, Ferns, Leighlin and Kil- 
dare, 1536-1800, vol 1, edited by W. P. W. Phillimore, M. A., 
B. C. L., London, 1909 ; Indexes to the Irish Wills in the Dio- 
ceses of Cork and Ross, Cloyne, 1548-1800, vol. 2, edited by 
Phillimore, London, 1910; Indexes to the Irish Wills in the 
Dioceses of Cashel and Emly, Waterford and Lismore, Killa- 
loe and Kilfenora, Limerick, Ardfert and Aghadoe, 1615- 
1800, vol. 3, edited by Gertrude Thrift, London, 1913; Indexes 
to the Irish Wills in the Dioceses of Dromore, Newry and 
Moume, 1678-1858, vol. 4, edited by Gertrude Thrift, London, 
1918; Indexes to the Irish Wills in the Dioceses of Derry and 
Raphoe, 1612-1858, vol. 5, edited by Gertrude Thrift, London, 

While the original wills probated in Northern Ireland after 
1858 were lost in the Public Record Office fire in 1922, a copy 
of each will proved in Northern Ireland after 1858 had been 
entered in a Will Book in one of the District Registries, in 
Belfast or Londonderry. For the period 1858-1900, one 
hundred and two Will Books are now in the Public Record 
Office, Belfast. 

The Fifty-Fifth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public 


Records, Dublin, 1928, Appendix II, and The Fifty-Sixth Re- 
port, 1931, Appendices I-VIII, contain the indexes to some 
15,900 documents presented to the Public Record Office, 1923- 
1928. These include Wills, Letters of Administration, Mar- 
riage License Grants, official copies of Wills, Grants and 
Chancery documents. The Fifty-Seventh Report, 1936, in- 
dexes 16,000 documents of like kind, presented 1929-1930. 
These records are approximately half of dates 1630-1850, the 
remainder bearing later dates. 

The Index of Will Abstracts in the Genealogical Office, Dub- 
lin, published in the Irish Manuscripts Commission's Analecta 
Hibernica, No. 17, Dublin Stationery Office, 1947, provides 
an index to about 7,500 will abstracts which vary in length 
from a few words to complete copies of wills. These abstracts 
have come to the Genealogical Office in the manuscript col- 
lections of men of great names in the field of genealogy. These 
include men whose works are in the Public Record Offices of 
Dublin and Belfast. Among these abstracts are those from 
the wills of persons who made charitable bequests and were 
included in the Report of the Commissioners, 1805 and 1814. 
Fisher contributed over 2,000 abstracts (surnames A-E) of 
16th, 17th and early 18th century Dublin Diocesan Wills. In 
Volume F., the majority of the abstracts are from Cork and 
Cloyne Diocesan Wills. Swanzy contributed 863 abstracts, 
mainly from Down, Connor and Dromore Wills. Abstracts 
of the Welply collection of wills which went to the Society of 
Genealogists, London, is also here. 

Every genealogist wishing to know about the existence of 
individual wills, etc., must read the indexes to the Reports of 
the Deputy Keeper of the Records of Northern Ireland, from 
1925, as well as the Reports for the Dublin Office already 

A Guide to Copies and Abstracts of Irish Wills, by the Rev. 
Wallace Clare, 1930, lists about 4,000 wills, transcripts, ab- 
stracts, etc., which, since the fire of 1922, are preserved. They 
have been located and indexed from repositories, publications, 
etc., from both England and Ireland. 


The Index to the Dublin Diocesan Wills was printed in the 
Appendix, 1895, and 1899, of the Report of the Deputy Keeper 
of the Records in Ireland. 

The Registry of Deeds, Dublin Abstracts of Wills, vol. I, 
1708-1745; vol. II, 1746-1785; edited by P. Beryl Eustace, 
Dublin Stationery Office, 1956, sets forth the abstracts of 
over 2,000 wills, the memorials of which were lodged in the 
Registry of Deeds due to property involved. 

The Quaker Records, Dublin, Abstracts of Wills, edited by 
P. Beryl Eustace and Olive C. Goodbody, Dublin, 1957; Ap- 
pendix I: List of Quaker Wills at Lisburn; Appendix II: 
List of Miscel. Quaker Wills in the Historical Library, 
Eustace Street, Dublin. Abstracts of 224 wills are given. 

* ♦ * 

As this chapter is written for those primarily interested 
in the past five hundred years, no attempt has been made to 
list any reference books for the genealogies of the ancient 
Irish families. 

(NOTE: Searching For Your Ancestors in Ireland. By Margaret 
Dickson Falley, B. S., F. A. S. G., will probably be available in the fall 
of 1960. In some 550 pages, well documented and indexed, information 
is furnished for those who must write for records, as well as for those 
who can go to Ireland. Detailed information is given as to records in 
each repository, each class of records, and the use of existing collections 
of original documents, transcripts, etc. Lists of Church of Ireland 
(Episcopal), Presbyterian, Quaker, Huguenot, and Catholic registers 
or indexes are included. There is an extensive bibliography of published 
genealogies, periodical sources, pedigrees, etc.; also of collections of 
family documents and their locations, and of published American sources 
of Irish and Scotch Irish origins. It will provide those interested in 
Irish genealogy with much information which could not be furnished 
within the space limitations of this chapter. ED.) 



Printed Works. — 

Publications on genealogical research and families in Ger- 
many are voluminous. The most important series of collected 
genealogies is the Deutsches Geschlechterbuch (Genealogisches 
Handbuch der Burgerlicher Familien), which title is translated 
as German Lineage Book (Genealogical Handbook of Middle- 
Class Families). Now in its 124th volume, the Geschlechter- 
buch has published since 1889 the pedigrees of thousands of 
families. Some of these families have American connections. 
Many of the volumes are devoted to certain German states, 
such as Hessen, the Palatinate, Bavaria, Baden, Wurttem- 
berg, Brandenburg, etc. ; others deal with families in all parts 
of Germany. This work is published by C. A. Starke- Verlag 
at Glucksburg/Ostsee (Baltic Sea). 

In the 1930's, many compilations on the genealogy of famous 
Germans were issued. Subjects of these ancestor-tables in- 
cluded statesmen such as Count von Hertling and Prince von 
Biilow, rulers such as Emperor Maximilian I (died 1519) and 
Frederick the Great ; soldiers such as Hindenburg ; and writers 
such as Goethe and Schiller. These compilations were all in- 
cluded in the series of Stamm- und Ahnentafelwerke (Pedigree 
and Ancestor Table Works), published by the Zentralstelle fur 

* This chapter is based, in part, on Genealogical Research in German- 
Speaking Lands: A Symposium (Special Publication No. 19, National 
Genealogical Society, Washington, D. C), by Dr. Ralph Dornfeld Owen, 
F. A. S. G., Karl Friedrich von Frank, F. A. S. G., Dr. Fritz Braun, Dr. 
Friedrich Krebs, Dr. Heinz F. Friederichs, Dr. Adam Heldmann, Dr. 
W. H. Ruoff, Milton Rubincam, F. A. S. G., and John I. Coddington, 
F. A. S. G.; Civil Affairs Guide; Archival Repositories in Germany, War 
Dept. Pamphlet No. 31-180, 15 May 1944; Marion Dexter Learned, 
Guide to the Manuscript Materials Relating to American History in the 
German State Archives (1912) ; Archibald F. Bennett, A Guide for Gene- 
alogical Research (1951), pp. 255-256 (German Record Sources). 
Grateful acknowledgement is made to Dr. Ernst Posner, Chairman of 
the Department of History, The American University, Washington, D. C, 
for reading this chapter and making many suggestions for its improve- 


deutsche Personen- und Familiengeschichte (Central Office for 
the History of German Persons and Families) at Leipzig. 

The periodical literature in the field of German genealogy 
is especially rich. The American researcher who has the 
patience to examine it will often find it rewarding. The 
Zentralstelle fur deutsche Personen- und Familiengeschichte 
has long been a leader in this field. In 1903, it commenced 
the publication of a magazine, Familiengeschichtliche Blatter, 
which, until its discontinuance in World War II, contained 
important articles on families, individuals, sources, etc. Each 
volume is indexed by surnames. From 1900 to 1938, the 
Zentralstelle issued the Familiengeschichtliche Bibliographic 
(Family History Bibliography), which is an important "loca- 
tor" for genealogical material, whether in book form or in 
periodicals. Five years ago the Zentralstelle resumed publi- 
cation of the Bibliographic, the printing being done by De- 
gener & Co., Neustadt-on-Aisch, Bavaria. In 1929, the Zen- 
tralstelle began the compilation of a card index of German 
emigrants. Since 1 February 1957, the Zentralstelle fur 
deutsche Personen- und Familienforschung in Leipzig is under 
the State Archives Administration of the German Democratic 

Another important genealogical magazine was Der Deutsche 
Herold, published by the Herold Society at Berlin from 1870 
to 1943. A current periodical of value is the Senftenegger 
Monatsblatt fiir Genealogie und Heraldik, published since 1951 
by Karl Friedrich von Frank, F. A. S. G., of Schloss Senf- 
tenegg, Post Ferschnitz, Niederosterreich, Austria. Although 
it deals primarily with Austrian families and source-materials, 
it contains much information on families in Germany and on 
German emigrants to colonial America. 

Throughout Germany there are local historical and genea- 
logical societies which are performing real services to the 
cause of genealogy by the publication of magazines and books. 
Among them are the Gesellschaft fur Familienkunde in Kur- 
hessen und Waldeck (Society for Family Study in Electoral 
Hessen and Waldeck), the Gesellschaft fiir Familienkunde in 


Franken (Franconia), the Bayrisches Landesverein fiir Fami- 
lienkunde (Bavarian State Association for Family Study), 
etc. Most of the societies are represented in the national 
organization, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der genealogischen Ver- 
bande Deutschlands (Co-operative Union of Genealogical As- 
sociations of Germany) at Hannover. A list of German 
genealogists, family associations and foundations, and genea- 
logical associations is contained in VdFF: Verzeichnis der 
Familienforscher und Familienverbande, Familienstiftungen 
und Familienkundlichen Vereinigungen, edited by Erich Was- 
mansdorff (4th ed., Glucksburg/Ostsee, 1956) : It is supple- 
mented by a quarterly publication, Praktische Forschungs- 
hilfe (since 1956). 

One of the most difficult feats is to establish the German 
home of an American settler in colonial times. Unless a Bible 
record, letters, diaries, and other contemporary documents 
have survived that will identify the town in Germany whence 
the family came, it is almost impossible to know where to be- 
gin the search. Within recent years articles have appeared 
in American periodicals giving data about emigrants from 
Germany as shown in the archives of that country. Dr. 
Friedrich Krebs, of Speyer, Germany, has been especially 
active in this connection; his articles on emigrants from the 
Palatinate have appeared in The Pennsylvania Dutchman 
(Lancaster, Penna.), at intervals since 1953, and he has pub- 
lished articles on colonists from Zweibriicken (Pennsylvania 
German Folklore Series, vol. 16) and from Baden-Durlach 
(National Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. 45, 1957). The 
last-named magazine carried an article in 1941 by William J. 
Hoffman, F. G. B. S., F. A. S. G., on settlers from the count- 
ship of Nassau-Dillenburg. In 1953, the Pennsylvania Ger- 
man Society published a booklet entitled, Emigrants from the 
Palatinate to the American Colonies in the 18th Century, 
compiled by Dr. Friedrich Krebs and edited, with an Intro- 
duction, by Milton Rubincam, F. A. S. G. This work demon- 
strates the unusual quality of many records in Germany. 
Names of immigrants, dates and places of their birth, if 
known, sometimes names of their parents, names of wives, 


dates of marriage, names, dates, and birthplaces of their child- 
ren are shown. It provides a commentary on the morals of 
the times — the Brandstetter girls, for instance, were oc- 
casionally loose with their affections, although it must be ad- 
mitted that their connections were legalized by subsequent 
marriages to their lovers. As so many American families 
are descended from Palatine settlers, it should be noted that 
information about emigrants from the Palatinate may be ob- 
tained from Heimatstelle Pfalz, Kaiserslautern, Stiftsplatz 3. 

Primary Sources. — 

Church Registers. The most important sources of genea- 
logical information in Germany are the parish registers (Kir- 
chenbucher, church books). The earliest Protestant regis- 
ters go back to the first half of the 16th century ; the earliest 
Catholic registers date from an order of the Council of Trent, 
11 November 1563. A few 16th century registers are extant, 
but most of those which have survived wars, fires, and other 
forces of destruction date from about 1650. The parish reg- 
isters are usually found in the custody of the local clergymen, 
but many of them have been placed for safe-keeping in state 
or church archives. The registers not only contain records 
of baptisms, marriages, and burials, but often statements con- 
cerning families' emigration to America and elsewhere. As 
an example, the church registers of Thaleischweiler, in the 
Palatinate, stated that Johann Heinrich Daude (Daute) "left 
for Pennsylvania with wife, children, and the son-in-law, and 
the wife and children of his son-in-law, 1765, the 7th May." 
Other records are not as complete as this one; some state 
simply, "has left for the New Country" ; in other cases, only 
the single word "America" indicates the area to which the 
family has migrated. 

Other ecclesiastical records of value are the banns (registers 
of intentions of marriage), lists of confirmations and com- 
municants, etc. Many churches have catalogs of fees col- 
lected, and even pedigrees. For instance, the State Archives 
at Marburg, Hessen, has Listen der Pfarreiangehorigen (Lists 


of Parishioners) of families living within the parish of Reich- 
ensachsen in 1646 and 1647; these tables were drawn up at 
that time by the pastor of Reichensachsen. 

The Deutsches Central Archiv (German Central Archives) 
in Potsdam, Stalinallee 98-101, took over the records of the 
former Reichssippenamt (which may be translated freely as 
State Family Office) and hence possesses a vast collection of 
church register materials, namely, 3,900 originals, 2,400 vol- 
umes of photocopies, and 16,500 microfilms. 

Civil Registers. A national law, effective 1 January 1876, 
made compulsory throughout Germany the civil registration 
of all persons, including vital statistics and personal status. 
These records are to be found in the respective Standesamter, 
(singular, Standesamt), or registration bureaus in the places 
where the families lived. Some areas had introduced their 
own systems of civil registration at earlier dates — the Free 
City of Frankfurt in 1533, the German territories subject to 
France in the Napoleonic period in 1798, and the duchy of 
Nassau in 1817. 

Archival Holdings. Each state in Germany has one or 
more State Archives (Staatsarchiv) and many towns and 
cities have municipal archives ( Stadtarchiv ) . They are a 
veritable treasure-house of genealogical information. They 
contain citizenship lists (Bilrgerbucher), tax lists, tithe reg- 
isters, wills and inventories, petitions, registers of real estate 
transfers (Grundbilcher), census records (in a few states 
where census enumerations were made), military records, 
passport registers, lists of emigrants, manumission records, 

The last-named record group needs explanation. When 
an individual in the 18th century wished to emigrate to 
America or elsewhere, he applied to his ruler for permission 
to go, and paid a stipulated fee in order to obtain his "manu- 
mission", i. e. freedom from his feudal obligations. The 
manumission document identified his home in Germany and 
gave particulars about him, his family, and his property. 
Examples of manumission records are contained in the Intro- 


duction to Volume III, Strassburger and Hinke's Pennsyl- 
vania German Pioneers (1934). These records are important 
for the genealogist, but it must be remembered that the manu- 
mission refers only to persons who emigrated with the ruler's 
knowledge and permission. Thousands of persons thought it 
expedient to leave the country quietly, without bothering the 
ruler for his always-reluctantly-given permission. 

As examples of the material to be found in archival es- 
tablishments, we may note that the Stadtarchiv at Augsburg, 
Bavaria, has tax books from 1346 to 1717, and the Stadtar- 
chiv at Bochum, Westphalia (now in the State of Nordrhein- 
Westfalen), has citizenship lists from 1519 to 1800. The 
Stadtarchiv at Gross Bieberau, Hessen, possesses real estate 
records which describe the history of every piece of property 
and every change of ownership, and give the names of the 
grantors, the grantees, and the owners of adjoining proper- 
ties, and the sale price. The Staatsarchiv at Marburg has 
muster rolls of the Hessian troops who fought for Great 
Britain in our Revolutionary War. 

During World War II many archives and libraries in Ger- 
many suffered heavy losses. To select one of many illus- 
trations, the Allied aerial attack on Kassel in 1943 resulted in 
the destruction of 15th and 16th century documents, the old 
citizenship lists, and the parish registers from 1750. For- 
tunately, the parish registers of Kassel prior to 1750 were in 
the Staatsarchiv at Marburg, which not being a strategic 
target, was spared and, consequently, its treasures are avail- 
able for researchers. A great many archives escaped de- 
struction during the war. 

The Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of 
Latter-Day Saints has been active in Germany, so that many 
records are preserved on microfilm at Salt Lake City. 

It should be noted that, archivally, the "Iron Curtain" di- 
vides Germany into two parts, namely: (1) the Federal Re- 
public of Germany, with the Federal Archives in Koblenz and 
the State archives in the various Lander (states) ; and (2) 
the German Democratic Republic, with the German Central 


Archives in Potsdam and a number of State archives, all con- 
trolled by the State Archives Administration of the German 
Democratic Republic. 

The Study of German Local History. — 

A knowledge of the history of the German areas whence 
came our ancestors is essential for the genealogist. Germany, 
as we know it, did not exist until 1871; during the colonial 
period of our history it was known as the Holy Roman Empire 
of the German Nation, under the nominal rule of the Habs- 
burg Emperor at Vienna. The Empire lasted for a thousand 
years, from the coronation of Charlemagne in the year 800 
until the abdication of Emperor Francis II in 1806. 

During this millennium boundaries changed frequently, and 
states were sold, exchanged, and conquered. As an illustration, 
the town of Wanfried never moved from the banks of the 
Werra River, but from 1650 to the present it has been succes- 
sively in Hessen-Kassel, Hessen-Rheinfels, again Hessen-Kas- 
sel, Electoral Hessen, the Prussian province of Hessen-Nassau, 
and the present State of Hessen. The composite parts of 
principalities is indicated by their names — Saxe-Meiningen, 
Saxe-Weimar, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Hohenzollern-Sigma- 
ringen, Nassau-Weilburg, and Nassau-Dillenburg. The duchy 
of Nassau was incorporated in the Prussian province of Hes- 
sen-Nassau in 1866, and since 1945 has been in the State of 
Hessen. Thus, although Nassau is now in Hessen, its archi- 
val repository is not at Marburg (the repository for old Hes- 
sen-Kassel) but at Wiesbaden, which was formerly in the 
duchy of Nassau. It will be seen, therefore, that only by 
studying the history of an ancestral locality can we determine 
where our genealogical search should commence. 

The indispensable tool for exploring the history of an 
ancestral locality is Heinrich Karl Wilhelm Berghaus's 
Deutschland seit hundert Jahren; Geschichte der Gebietsein- 
teilung und der politischen Verfassung des Vaterlandes (Leip- 
zig; 5 vols., 1859-62, Part I, 2 vols: Deutschland vor 100 Jah- 
ren; Part II, 3 vols., Deutschland vor 50 Jahren). 



The following pages are devoted to a general discussion 
of genealogical research in the Netherlands. It refers to 
conditions as they existed before the recent war had devas- 
tated this peaceful country. Whether any or how much of the 
valuable records have been lost cannot be determined at this 
time and the information is, therefore, based on pre-war con- 

The genealogical literature contains much material about 
the old settler families from the Netherlands. Many of them 
became prominent and their descendants are to be found in all 
sections of this country. Consequently, not only were these 
descendants interested in the history of their families since 
their arrival on these shores but also in trying to determine 
their antecedents in "The Old Country". 

Unfortunately, the first attempts to trace the ancestry of 
families of Dutch descent in the Fatherland were made at a 
time when scientific research was the exception. Investi- 
gations were undertaken either by well-meaning amateurs, 
who, however, lacked in most cases the necessary knowledge 
for such a task, or it was put in the hands of (in many cases) 
unscrupulous professionals who wanted to please their clients 
and submitted a glorified pedigree which cannot stand investi- 
gation judged by our present standards. 1 With very few ex- 
ceptions 2 all that has been published during the 19th and 
the first years of the present century should be discounted 

1 Among the worst, to cite only a few : A Founder Family of New Nether- 
land and their ancestry in Holland (Van Deuzen family), see New York 
Genealogical and Biographical Record, 1934, 62; History of the Sloat 
Family of the Nobility of Holland, by Mrs. Geo. Washington Holland; 
The Schenck Genealogy, see New York Genealogical and Biographical 
Record, 68 p. 114. The Van der Veere Family in the Netherlands. 1150- 
1660 and 1280-1780, see The American Genealogist July 1945. 

a An excellent genealogy is: The Earliest Cuylers of Holland and 
America, by Maud Churchill Nicoll. 


until a thorough investigation has proved the reliability of 
the facts as presented. 

In the last thirty years a different attitude toward genea- 
logical research has produced some excellent results and many 
well authenticated reliable articles have appeared in various 
magazines, books and family publications. However, the field 
has by no means been exhausted and, in the present writer's 
opinion, with the proper approach, the Old World ancestry of 
many settlers from the Netherlands may be definitely es- 

Before embarking on such a quest it is important to deter- 
mine beforehand the chances of finding the desired data. 

First, there are families who came here with family names 
already established. The genealogies of these families have 
for the greater part already been determined. However, 
there are still quite a few which offer excellent prospects 
for a search (ten Eyck, Verno (o)y, Van Loon, etc.). But, 
at this point, there should be given a warning. Similarity 
of family names is never a proof of relationship, unless the 
family names are exceptional. The most common mistake in 
all publications is in trying to connect the family in America 
to one with the same or even a similar name in the Nether- 
lands without any further proof than a similarity of sur- 

The second group comprises the families whose place of 
birth in the Netherlands is evident from the records in 
America, such as passenger lists, marriage records, orphan 
chamber records, and the like. Such leads are in many cases 
sufficient to warrant making an investigation. When the 
families apparently only used patronymics, and most of them 
did, the search is not an easy one but is worth undertaking, 
the results depending entirely on the place of origin, whether 
their home was in a large city or a small village and whether 
the patronymic and given names were rather unusual or very 
common given names. Each individual case should be judged 
on its own merits. 

When no place of origin is known and only patronymics 
were used, a search in most cases is hopeless. But there may 


be indications in which direction to conduct the search, such 
as the family name used at a later date, the names of sponsors 
at baptisms, etc., these may give a clue. 

The available Dutch printed source material in this country 
has been searched thoroughly by the various investigators, in- 
cluding this writer, and the possibility of finding any real 
clues therein is quite remote. Few libraries outside New York 
City and the Library of Congress in Washington, have any of 
these books on their shelves. Only one thoroughly versed in 
the Dutch language is able to consult them intelligently with 
any hope of success. 

An extensive list of printed source material of the Nether- 
lands is to be found in Repertorium van Gedrukte Geneal- 
ogieen, by Jhr. Mr. Dr. E. A. van Beresteyn, published in the 
Netherlands in 1933. This lists the names of all Dutch fami- 
lies on which information had been published up to that time 
with reference to the publications in which it had appeared. 
(A copy of this Repertorium is in the Library of Congress, the 
New York Public Library, the New York Genealogical and 
Biographical Society, and probably others.) The book con- 
tains a list of all the genealogical and historical publications 
which have been consulted. Only a rather limited number of 
these, however, is available in American libraries. 

Failing to find any clue in this printed source material, an 
investigation has to be made in the Netherlands. One can 
consult either a professional genealogist in this country with 
connections in the Netherlands or employ a Dutch genealogist 
of good standing and turn the search over to him or her. But 
in case one desires to make the search personally by writing 
to various depositories of source material, the following out- 
line is submitted regarding the method of making a search. 

There are in the Netherlands the (Federal) General Ar- 
chives located at The Hague, and in the capitals of each of the 
eleven provinces, a State Depository of the old provincial ar- 
chives. In addition, the larger cities which could afford fire- 
proof vaults and buildings to give adequate protection to the 
valuable records, have their Municipal Archives. Some of the 


larger libraries have manuscript collections which contain 
documents of value to the genealogist. The Royal Library at 
The Hague is one of the foremost among these. All such in- 
stitutions are managed by a competent staff with special train- 
ing for this kind of work, and the writer has found them 
courteous and efficient. In practically all instances a charge 
is made for answering an inquiry, the amount depending on 
the scope of the work to be done. None of these institutions, 
however, do extensive research for others. 

What kind of Source Material is Available at the 

Church Records 

All old vital church records before 1811 have been deposited 
— ordered by law — in the various archives as enumerated 
above. In other words, the churches do not have the old vital 
church records in their possession. The writer does not 
know of any complete church records which have been pub- 
lished such as has been done in England and in the United 
States. 3 The original records have, therefore, to be searched 
at the archives in which they have been deposited. This is a 
laborious task and can only be undertaken by one versed in 
reading the old script. Few of these registers have been in- 
dexed. Rotterdam is one of the best in this respect. Amster- 
dam marriages have been indexed in groups of five years on 
the Christian names of the persons (old indexes). Amster- 
dam, the place of origin of a large number of settlers, is a 
very difficult city in which to find marriage and especially 
baptismal records. It was a large city, the third in Europe 
during the 17th century, with quite a number of churches, 
each with its individual records, and it may take days to 

8 A limited number of some very old records have been published ; also 
excerpts from the records of a few cities have appeared in genealogical 
magazines. These selected entries covered those concerning ministers, 
military men, artists and the like. A complete list of all available church 
records (as of 1880) appeared in Algemeen Nederlandsch Familieblad, 
Vols. 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (available at New York Public Library and New 
York State Library). In volumes 1887, 1888 and 1889 there appeared 
the Dutch Brazil records. 


locate a single entry. In addition, the fees for consulting the 
registers are quite high. 

There is another important custom to consider. When one 
or both parties contracting a marriage did not belong to 
either the Dutch Reformed, Walloon or Presbyterian churches 
a civil marriage had to be contracted before schepens (see be- 
low) and special registers were kept for these marriages. 

From the foregoing, it is evident that even to make a search 
in as simple a source as the church records may require a trip 
to various provincial or municipal archives and, what is es- 
sential, a thorough knowledge of the old script, considerable 
time and, consequently, a large amount of patience. 

Add to this the fact that other source material is much more 
difficult to search and it is little wonder that the number of 
active genealogists in the Netherlands is not large and limited 
to those equipped with the necessary knowledge and perse- 
verance. The amateur who has to search for days at a time 
in the old script registers is soon discouraged and selects 
another hobby. An important result, however, is that what- 
ever is published is of excellent quality and based on original 
work and not just taken from printed source material. 

Notarial Archives 

These form other important records for genealogical re- 
search. Some years ago (12 December 1905) a law was 
passed directing all still-existing notarial records dating from 
before 1811 to be surrendered to the various archives. An 
index is being made in most archives in order to facilitate 
searching these thousands of volumes. Here one finds wills, 
settlements of estates, contracts, affidavits, in short a real 
treasure house of information. A very large number of no- 
tarial records have been lost during more than two centuries 
of private ownership, but many are still available in the 
various archives. 

Orphan Chamber Records 

These are also of great importance. Unless the chamber 
was excluded by will and guardians appointed therein in case 


there were surviving minors, it was necessary to file an in- 
ventory of the estate of the deceased parent with the Orphan 
Chamber. This institution protected their rights, especially 
in cases when the surviving party contracted another mar- 
riage. (Note: There are still notarial records and Orphan 
Chamber records in existence of New Amsterdam and Albany 
dating from the Dutch Colonial period.) 

The Court of Schepens 

This was an institution unknown in England, but it dates 
back to the Middle Ages in the Netherlands and other parts 
of the Continent. In its early existence its members were ap- 
pointed from the nobility of the district, but upon the growing 
importance of the cities the members of the court in the 
cities were appointed from its influential burghers. In the 
country, the nobility and large landowners continued their 
hold on its membership much longer but were gradually re- 
placed by the smaller landowners and substantial farmers. 

The number of Schepens which made up the court varied in 
accordance with the size of the city or district under its juris- 
diction. One of the members acted as president ; attached to 
the court was a secretary. Their term of office was limited to 
a few years. In many instances, they could not fill the posi- 
tion for consecutive terms and had to be out of office for at 
least the duration of a term before being eligible for another 

When sitting as a Court of Law they dealt with both civil 
and criminal cases. The bailiff or sheriff acted as prosecut- 
ing attorney. The secretary, in most cases trained in legal 
matters, saw to it that the provisions of the law were followed 
and kept the records. Besides holding court the schepens at- 
tended to many other duties. They appointed receivers in 
bankruptcy, attested to inventories, powers of attorney and 
various other legal papers, and committed the afflicted to in- 
sane asylums. One of their most important functions was 
that they acted as registrars of deeds and mortgages, for such 
instruments had to be passed by their board and recorded by 
them. Schepen records, therefore, form one of the most 


valuable sources of information for the genealogist. But 
they can only be properly consulted by skilled searchers, 
thoroughly familiar with the old script and the legal termi- 
nology. They are as a rule poorly indexed and searching these 
records is a very laborious task but for building up a pedi- 
gree they are of the greatest importance. 

Another important function, mentioned above, was that 
all civil marriages had to be performed by their board (see 
under Church Records) . 

The schepens also made the appointments of several minor 
officials and issued certain ordinances. As a matter of fact, 
their position was one of great importance and in the cities 
was only surpassed by membership in the City Council — a 
life job — and the higher municipal, provincial and federal of- 
fices held by its members such as burgomasters, delegates to 
the States General, Provincial Estates, Admiralty Board, etc. 

Land Tenure Records 

The land was for the greater part owned by the large feudal 
landowners, be they individuals, associations or religious in- 
stitutions. Their stewards kept records of the holdings, enter- 
ing the name of the holder under the description of the various 

Such records are extremely valuable in proving a pedi- 
gree. Upon the death of the holder the successor had to take 
the oath of fealty and this fact was entered in the records 
under the description of the property in question. In many 
instances, the relationship between the successive holders 
was indicated or is evident from the patronymics. When the 
property was held for a long time by the same family the 
entries may contain the proof to establish a line for several 
generations. These records, therefore, are of the greatest 
importance for genealogical research. But again they are 
only for the experienced searcher. 

Several of Leenakten Boeken (Land Tenure Registers) of 
the Province of Gelderland and a few others have been pub- 
lished. These are available at the New York Public Library 


and the New York State Library at Albany. They are to be 
found among the publications of the Society Gelre. Excerpts 
from others are scattered in various other publications. 

Notes by other Searchers 

In practically all archives there are to be found manu- 
scripts left by former searchers. During bygone centuries 
a number of famous antiquaries collected data about the lead- 
ing families of their day. Some of these notes are excellent, 
others have to be used with caution, and again others should 
be left alone. The writer has been able to use such manu- 
scripts in a few instances, mostly in connection with deter- 
mining the arms used by families under investigation. Those 
in attendance at the various archives are familiar with these 
manuscripts and are able to advise which to consult. 

Guild Registers 

In the cities a large number of records kept by the various 
guilds have been preserved and these contain in many in- 
stances entries helpful in building up a pedigree. But they 
need to be consulted by an experienced searcher. 

The Records of the West India Company 

These records are on deposit with the General Archives at 
The Hague. They have been thoroughly searched by compe- 
tent searchers. Such information as they contain has for 
the greater part been published, that is, used in the history of 
the Company. They have not disclosed any important 
material in connection with genealogical research. 

Passenger Lists 

The writer has often been asked whether there are passenger 
lists available. The only ones in existence have been pub- 
lished in the Holland Society Yearbook of 1902. They are 
not really passenger lists but accounts enumerating those pas- 
sengers who owed the Company money for their passage. 
Others who sailed on the same ships but had settled their ac- 
counts are not listed. Other lists of immigrants of a later 
date, practically all Germans, are contained in "The Book of 


40,000 names". The Amsterdam and Rotterdam Notarial 
Archives have been searched for passenger lists for these 
were the principal ports of embarkation for the New World, 
but no such lists have been found. 

Genealogical Society 

Het Koninklijk Genootschap voor Geslacht en Wapenkunde 
De Nederlandsche Leeuw (The Royal Society for Genealogy 
and Heraldry, The Netherlands' Lion) is situated at The 
Hague and has an excellent library and manuscript collection. 
A well-informed staff will answer simple questions or will 
refer you to a competent genealogist who might be willing 
to undertake a search. This Society is reliable in every re- 
spect and should not be confused with some genealogical 
agencies in this country which claim to have extensive con- 
nections abroad. 

This is in broad outline the genealogical source material 
available in the Netherlands. Various districts have in many 
instances special registers and when once a search has been 
started these should be used when a search in them looks 
promising. Again, any search has to be undertaken by a 
person with experience in this kind of work. 


Printed Works 

The genealogist of French families will find a vast amount 
of printed materials at his disposal. Within the limits of this 
chapter we can mention only a few of the more noteworthy 
publications. It must be remembered that these are second- 
ary works, and that the authors are not free from error. 
But they serve the useful purpose of providing clues for 
further research and, of course, much of the information they 
present is reliable. 

The first of the long series of volumes of the Dictionnaire 
des Families Frangaises, Anciennes et Notables, a la Fin du 
XIXe Siecle, by Chaix d'Est-Ange, made its appearance in 
1903. The families in this work are arranged alphabetically. 
From 1923 to 1930 Baron de Woelmont de Brumagne pub- 
lished, in eight volumes, Notices Genealogiques; each volume 
has its own index, and in 1928 the compiler issued a book 
containing additions and corrections to the first five volumes. 

A convenient reference for French families is the series 
known as Les Vieux Noms de France, by Maurice Leo 
d'Armagnac del Cer, Comte de Puymege, of which the first 
volume came off the press in 1939, and the latest (so far as 
the author of this chapter can ascertain) in 1954. It consists 
of brief historical sketches, which vary in length according to 
the importance of the family and the available material on 
each family. 

Andre Guirard published Les Anciennes Families de 
France, Leurs Origines, Leur Histoire, Leurs Descendances 
in three volumes (1930-35). Generally, the work consists of 
historical sketches with an account of living members of the 
families but frequently long genealogies of the families are 

Andre Delavenne began the publication in 1954 of a work 


devoted to the French middle class, Recueil Genealogique de 
la Bourgeoisie Ancienne, in each volume of which the fami- 
lies are arranged alphabetically. 

Periodicals which devote attention to genealogy include the 
Bulletin de la Societe Heraldique et Genealogique de France 
(6 vols., 1879-87, each volume being thoroughly indexed), the 
Bulletin Genealogique d' Information, the quarterly organ 
(first issued in 1956) of the Centre Genealogique de Paris 
(Genealogical Center of Paris), and La France Genealogique, 
of which the first number came off the press in January 
1959 as the bi-monthly organ of the Centre d'Entr'aide 
Genealogique (Center of Genealogical Assistance), edited by 
Dr. du Chalard of Villaines-la-Juhel (Mayenne). 

Of prime importance for students of French Huguenot 
(Protestant) genealogy is the long series of volumes, Publica- 
tions of the Huguenot Society of London, which contain tran- 
scripts of the registers of the Walloon Church at Canterbury, 
Returns of Aliens from 1503 to 1597, registers of the French 
Church of Threadneedle Street, London, letters of denization 
and acts of naturalization of aliens in England and Ireland, 
and other records which have a bearing on the Huguenots in 
England and colonial America. 

The Armorial General. — 

Not to be overlooked by genealogists of French families, 
especially the noble houses, are the works of the famous 
d'Hozier family. Pierre d'Hozier, Seigneur de la Garde 
(1592-1660), juge d'armes (Judge of Arms) of France (an 
office approximating that of Garter King of Arms in Eng- 
land), left at his death 150 volumes or portfolios of documents 
and papers relating to the genealogy of the principal families 
of the Kingdom. His younger son, Charles Rene d'Hozier 
(1640-1732), who succeeded his brother, Louis Roger (1634- 
1708), as juge d'armes in 1675, established (1696) the 
General Armory (Armorial General) of France. This vast 
work included not only the coats-of-arms of noble families 
but also the armorial insignia of commoners entitled to bear 
arms. The collection is incomplete, however; in spite of a 


royal edict requiring the registration of arms, many families 
refused to comply. His nephew and successor as juge 
d'armes, Louis Pierre d'Hozier (1685-1767), published 
Armorial General, ou Registres de la Noblesse (10 vols., 
1738-68), which, unlike his uncle's great work of similar 
name, dealt only with noble families and was not an official 
publication. The tremendous genealogical and heraldic col- 
lections of the d'Hozier family are in the Bibliotheque 
Nationale (National Library) at Paris. 

Primary Sources 1 

Parish Registers and Registers of the Civil State. — A 
few parish registers date from the early part of the 16th cen- 
tury, a few more from the 17th century, but the majority of 
extant registers are from the 18th century. The custodian of 
the registers was the cure, or parish priest. Occasionally, 
from the 17th century, but more especially from the beginning 
of the 18th century, the priests deposited duplicates of their 
registers with the Greffe du Tribunal (Office of the Clerk of 
Court). When the Revolution swept over France in 1789 
the priests were required by law to transfer all of their 
registers to the town hall (the Mairie) ; they then became 
known as the Registres de Vtitat Civil (Registers of the Civil 
State). In the various localities these registers of births, 
marriages, and burials are preserved either in the Bureau 
de Vfitat Civil (Office of the Civil State) of the Mairie, or in 
the Archives Communales (Municipal Archives), or in the 
Archives Depart ementales (Departmental Archives) . (France 
is divided into 89 departments, corresponding generally to our 
States.) The registers prior to the Revolution contain an 
index, usually by surname but for the older registers by 
Christian name, at the end of the volume or end of the year. 
For the registers after the Revolution, except for the earlier 
years, there are indexes (alphabetically, by surname) com- 
piled every five or ten years. Unfortunately, in Paris, both 

1 This section is based on H. L. Rabino di Borgomale, "Genealogical Re- 
search in France", The Genealogists* Magazine (London), vol. ID, Sept. 
1946, pp. 1-7. 


the original and the duplicate registers up to 1860 were lost 
by fire. An attempt has been made to reconstitute the Etat 
Civil before 1860, but these records are, of course, fragmen- 
tary. The Archives of the Department of Seine (Archives 
du Departement de la Seine) contain card and alphabetical in- 
dexes for the Paris fitat Civil after 1860. 

Notarial Records. — In France, as well as in other Euro- 
pean countries, the records of notaries public are highly impor- 
tant for the genealogist. The notaries drew up wills, deeds of 
purchase and sale, marriage contracts, and other documents 
that provide much information on individuals and families. 
These records are frequently in the possession of successive 
notaries of a locality, but early in this century they were 
authorized to deposit their papers which they no longer re- 
quired with the National Archives at Paris or the Depart- 
mental Archives. The volumes of notarial records are often 
indexed, but in cases where they are not provided with this 
finding aid it is virtually impossible to conduct researches. 

Military and Naval Records. — The records of French 
soldiers and sailors are maintained at Paris in the Archives 
Administratives du Ministere de la Guerre (Administrative 
Archives of the Ministry of War) and the Archives du Minis- 
tere de la Marine (Archives of the Ministry of the Navy). 
For the period before the Napoleonic Empire, the records of 
officers are kept alphabetically in boxes, but since that time 
an alphabetical index of officers has been maintained. 

The Public Archives 9 

The National Archives at Paris and the numerous depart- 
mental archives possess a well-nigh inexhaustible fund of 
material of genealogical as well as historical value. Here are 
maintained the charters of the Middle Ages, the registers of 
feudal dues, tax-registers, obituaries, decisions of the Conseil 
du Roi (Council of the King) and of the Law Courts, etc. In 

2 This section is based in part on Rabino di Borgomale, loc. cit., and 
Archival Repositories in France, compiled by Dr. Ernst Posner for the 
Committee of the American Council of Learned Societies on Protection 
of Cultural Treasures in War Areas, and issued by The National Ar- 
chives, Washington, D. C, December 1943. 


many cases printed inventories of the holdings of the de- 
partmental and municipal archives are available. Card in- 
dexes in the muniment rooms of the archival establishments 
are of help to researchers. 

A few examples of the importance of archival holdings 
may be given. The Archives Communales at Abbeville, 
Departement de la Somme, owns an impressive collection of 
records of the city authorities from the 12th to the 17th 
centuries and treasurers' accounts from 1340 to 1775. The 
Archives Municipales at Bordeaux lost many of its records 
by fire in 1862, but among the documents that survived the 
conflagration are numerous chartularies from the 13th cen- 
tury, 900 volumes of vital statistics, and many family archives. 
The Archives Depart ementales at Colmar, Departement du 
Haut-Rhin, holds the records of the authorities of the ancien 
regime (Old Regime) prior to 1790, including the archives of 
the Counts of Ribeaupierre, the archives of religious insti- 
tutions and corporations, and the records of the Revolutionary 
period, 1790-1800. One of the richest depositories in France 
is the Archives Departementales at Dijon, Departement de la 
Cote d'Or, where are preserved the records of the ancient 
Duchy of Burgundy, as well as records created by various 
authorities in later periods. The Archives de la Ville (Town 
Archives) of Montbeliard, Departement de Doubs, has records 
of privileges and franchises from 1283, citizenship lists from 
1316, notarial books from the 16th to the 18th centuries, and 
guild records. 



Switzerland is a Federal Union of 19 cantons and six half- 
cantons, as follows: Germany Zurich, Bern, Luzern, Uri, 
Schwyz, Obwalden and Nidwalden (half -cantons comprising 
the Canton of Unterwalden), Glarus, Zug, Solothurn, Basel- 
Stadt and Basel-Land (half -cantons making up the Canton of 
Basel), Schaffhausen, Appenzell Inner-Rhoden and Appen- 
zell Ausser-Rhoden (half -cantons composing the Canton of 
Appenzell), Sankt Gallen, Graubiinden, Aargau, and Thur- 
gau ; Italian, Ticino ; French, Fribourg, Vaud, Valais, Neucha- 
tel, and Geneva. The majority of the population speaks Ger- 
man, with smaller percentages speaking French and Italian. 
There is a fourth official language in the Union, recognized 
as such a few years ago — Ratoromannic (Rhaeto-Roman), 
spoken by about one percent, namely, the mountaineers of 
Graubiinden (Grisons) and the headwaters of the Rhine. It 
is a historical survival of the Latin spoken by the Roman 
legions in ancient Switzerland. The cantons have alternative 
German and French names; for example, German Luzern is 
French Lucerne; German Zug is French Zoug; German 
Graubiinden is French Grisons; German Solothurn is French 
Soleure; French Vaud and Valais are German Waadt and 
Wallis; Geneva is Geneve in French and Genf in German; 
and so on. 

Printed Works 

Genealogical studies in Switzerland are of comparatively 
recent date. Before the 19th century chroniclers and his- 

* This chapter is based, in part, on W. H. Ruoff , "Concerning 1 Gene- 
alogy in Switzerland", Genealogical Research in German-Speaking Lands : 
A Symposium (Special Publication No. 19, National Genealogical Society, 
1958). pp. 18-20; Dictionnadre Historique et Biographique de la Suisse, 
vol. 3 (1926). p. 349 (article, "Genealogie") ; Albert B. Faust. Guide to 
the Materials for American History in Sunss and Austrian Archives 
(1916) ; Archibald F. Bennett, A Guide for Genealogical Research 
(1951), pp. 262-263 (Swiss Record Sources). 


torians established genealogies of families of dynasts and of 
middle-class families grouped according to their localities. 
These old genealogies were not necessarily intended to con- 
tribute to a knowledge of Swiss history, but rather to support 
territorial pretensions of certain families. This was es- 
pecially the case in 1707 when genealogical tables accompanied 
the manifestos of the pretenders to the sovereignty of 
Neuchatel. 1 

Although two centuries have elapsed since its publication 
was begun, Hans Jacob Leu's Allgemeines Helvetisches 
Eydgenossisches oder Schweizerisches Lexicon (General 
Helvetian Confederated or Swiss Lexicon) (20 vols., 1747-65) 
is still a standard reference. It is a historical, topographical, 
biographical, and genealogical work, and its subjects are ar- 
ranged alphabetically. A supplement was published in six 
volumes (1786-95) by Johann Jacob Holzhalb. 

Among other useful publications in the field of Swiss geneal- 
ogy are Galiffe's Notices Genealogiques sur les Families Gene- 
voises (7 vols., 1829-95), dealing with families of Geneva; 
Recueil Genealogique Suisse (Swiss Genealogical Collection) 
(3 vols., 1902-18, also dealing with families of Geneva) ; and 
Recueil de Genealogies Vaudoises (Collection of Genealogies 
of the Canton of Vaud), published by the Societe Vaudoise de 
Genealogie, which was founded at Lausanne in 1910. In 
1905 was published volume I of the Schweizerisches Ge- 
schlechterbuch which bears the alternative French title, Al- 
manach Genealogique Suisse. This is perhaps the best all- 
around work thus far produced on Swiss families ; volume XI 
of this series was issued in 1958. 

The noted genealogist, Johann Paul Zwicky, of Zurich, 
published Sammlung Schweizerischer Ahnentafeln (Collection 
of Swiss Ancestor-Tables) (1938 to 1942) . This well indexed 

1 The present Canton of Neuchatel was ruled for centuries by its own 
line of counts; in 1707, the King of Prussia successfully prosecuted his 
claim with the result that he and his successors were Princes of Neuchatel 
until 1857, when Prussian rule was terminated. From 1806 to 1813, one 
of Napoleon's marshals was Prince of Neuchatel, but as the Napoleonic 
empire was coming to an end the sovereignty reverted to Prussia. 


volume takes some of the families back to the 16th century. 
On pages 65-66, it shows the American connections of one 
Swiss family, namely, Belsterling, Markley, Preston, Heisler, 
and Carlile, of the Philadelphia-New Jersey area. 

A most useful reference work is the Dictionnaire Historique 
et Biographique de la Suisse (Historical and Biographical 
Dictionary of Switzerland) , which also was published in a Ger- 
man edition, Historisch-Biographisches Lexikon der Schweiz 
(7 vols., 1921-34). It gives brief accounts of thousands of 
Swiss families, including many which have branches in 
America, such as Biirgi, Feer (Fehr), von Graff enried, 
Has(s)ler, de Saussure, Tschudi, Tschumi, and Zollikofer. 

The National Genealogical Society in Washington published 
Lists of Swiss Emigrants in the Eighteenth Century to the 
American Colonies, by Albert Bernhardt Faust and Gaius 
Marcus Brumbaugh (2 vols., 1920-25). Volume I gives de- 
tails about the emigrants from Zurich to Carolina and Penn- 
sylvania, 1734-44, and Volume II provides similar data con- 
cerning the emigrants from Bern, 1706-95, and from Basel, 
1734-94. This work is indispensable for students of Swiss 
colonists in America. 


There are several societies in Switzerland that are engaged 
in preserving their genealogical records. In addition to local 
societies, on a national scale are the Schweizerische Gesell- 
schaft fiir Familienforschung (Societe d'Etudes Genea- 
logiques), or Swiss Society for Genealogical Studies, and the 
Schweizerische Heraldische Gesellschaft (Societe Suisse 
d'Heraldique), which devotes itself to heraldic studies. There 
is also an association of Swiss professional genealogists, the 
Verband Schweizerisches Berufs-Familienforscher. 

Parish Registers 

In Switzerland for centuries there were only two rec- 
ognized churches, the Reformed and the Roman Catholic. 
The Reformed church registers are the older, having been 


instituted by the great reformer, Ulrich Zwingli (died 1531). 
The Catholic registers date from an order of the Council of 
Trent in 1563. The types of records contained in the parish 
registers are baptisms, marriages, burials, and confirmations. 
Of equal importance are the Jahrzeitbiicher, which contain 
data on legacies set aside for masses of the dead. Names of 
parents and grandparents of decedents are often included, 
and even landed property is frequently designated. In some 
parts of Switzerland these books date from the 14th century. 
By a national law of 24 December 1874, it was ordered that 
the ancient parish registers were to be preserved (either origi- 
nals or copies) by officers of the civil state. Many of them 
are found in the various State Archives ( Stoat sarchiv in 
German cantons, Archives de VMat in French cantons, and 
Archivio Cantonale in the Italian canton) . A large number of 
registers are still in the custody of the parishes. Many reg- 
isters are on microfilm at the Genealogical Society in Salt Lake 

Notarial Registers 

Records kept by notaries, which contain records of wills, 
inventories, etc., are for the most part in the custody of the 
state archives of the cantons. 

Civil Registration 

The French canton of Vaud commenced civil registration in 
1800, but the other cantons did not follow suit until required 
by a national law effective 1 January 1876 (the same day that 
civil registration in Germany started). These records of 
births, marriages, and deaths are preserved by the respective 
civil registration offices (Zivilstandsamt). 

Citizenship Lists 

The Burgerbiicher (citizenship books) have been kept for 
many centuries. A number of Burgerbiicher have been pub- 
lished. The original volumes are preserved in the municipal 
archives (the towns and villages have their own archival 
establishments) or in the civil registration offices. 


Census Records 

The first general census of Switzerland was in 1841, but 
these records are not widely used because of the completeness 
of the parish registers. It should be noted that in 1764 the 
canton of Bern was so concerned about Bernese emigration 
to England and America that a census of its population was 
ordered in that year. 

Real Estate Registers 

These important registers of landed property, dating from 
the late Middle Ages to modern times, are preserved in the 
various archives. Included with them are the Zinsbiicher 
(tribute books), containing names of serfs who paid dues to 
the manorial lords. 

Emigration Records 

The State Archives of Switzerland contain abundant in- 
formation on emigrants in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. 2 
The Staatsarchiv at Zurich has many documents relating to 
people going to the Palatinate, Swabia, the Netherlands, 
Alsace, America, and elsewhere; some of these records date 
from 1651. In 1702, there was compiled a list of persons who 
were "not at home in that year". The Staatsarchiv at Glarus 
has records of landed property transferred to its former in- 
habitants living in America (1837-67). The Staatsarchiv at 
Basel has petitions from the Junt and Rieger families which 
wished to emigrate to Virginia in 1771. The Staatsarchiv at 
Schaffhausen has records (1735, 1741, etc.) of persons from 
that canton who went to Carolina and Pennsylvania. The 
Staatsarchiv at Bern has documents relating to the 18th cen- 
tury Swiss settlements in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the 

2 The statement in Genealogical Research in German-Speaking Lands 
(1958), p. 19: "It is noteworthy that there are almost no records of 
emigration — a matter of importance when one attempts to trace the Swiss 
ancestry of an American family" is incorrect. As the illustrations in the 
text, selected at random, demonstrate, the Swiss cantonal archives possess 
many documents bearing on emigrants to America and other countries, 
from the 17th century on. It should be noted in passing, that in addi- 
tion to the State Archives of the cantons and the archives of towns and 
villages, the Bundesarchiv (Federal Archives) was established at Bern 
in 1798. It is comparable to our National Archives. 


19th century settlement at Vevay, Switzerland County, 
Indiana, and other Swiss colonies in this country. At the 
Staatsarchiv and Stadtbibliothek (Municipal Library at 
Bern) are many papers dealing with von Graff enried's settle- 
ment at New Bern, North Carolina. 


Printed Works 

In recent years there has been an ever-increasing interest 
in genealogy in the Scandinavian countries and Finland. 
Several books and magazines containing articles on family 
records, handbooks on genealogy, etc., have been published in 
those countries. 

Sweden was one of the first nations in the world to publish 
statistics, and the idea of preserving and organizing manu- 
scripts is old there. Unfortunately, in many instances, fires 
have destroyed church archives as well as other manuscript 
collections, and other sources, therefore, become doubly im- 

In Sweden, genealogical research was aided and facilitated 
several years ago by Professor Odhner, the well-known his- 
torian, who was instrumental in having a law passed that all 
records and manuscripts in the custody of Swedish churches 
should be assembled in certain central archives. Several of 
these district archives were established throughout Sweden. 
Some of the churches in the Province of Dalarna refused, how- 
ever, to part with their valuable records. Finally, it was 
decided that churches not willing to send their church books 
to the central archives should be allowed to keep them, pro- 
vided the churches constructed fireproof vaults for the safe- 
keeping of their manuscripts. A list of these churches is 
found in Ella Heckscher's Sex Kapital om Sldktforskning. An 
excellent little folder, Finding Your Forefathers, was pub- 
lished by the Swedish Foreign Office Press and Information 
Service in 1957. It contains a wealth of information useful 
to the genealogist searching for Swedish ancestors. 

In Denmark, Frabritius and Hatt published Haandbog i 
Slaegtforskning (Handbook on Genealogical Research) 
(Copenhagen, 1943), which "covers the entire North." 


In Finland, we find one of the best books on the subject, 
Sldktforskning. Praktisk Handbok for Finland, by Alfred 
Brenner (Helsinki, 1947). It, naturally, concerns Finland 
especially, but it contains much information for Swedish and 
even Danish and Norwegian genealogists. 

Brenner gives a list of the provincial archives, including 
the National Archives, and he describes their general content. 
He publishes facsimiles of the alphabet and of the handwrit- 
ing of the 17th and 18th centuries, and he explains certain 
signs and expressions which occur in church books that must 
be understood if a genealogist is to make headway. He 
completes certain common abbreviations in Latin and the 
native language, found especially in the early church books. 

For Norway, we have Aett og By. Festskrift til Finne- 
Gr0nn. Om Nordisk Slegtforskning og Oslo Byhistorie (a 
title which may be translated briefly as "On Nordic Genea- 
logical Research"), by several writers (Oslo, 1944). 

The books listed above all describe methods and sources of 
genealogical research in the Scandinavian countries. A large 
number of books and periodicals dealing with families have 
been published. The most important of these are listed as 
follows : 

Denmark: Danmarks Adels Aarbog (Yearbook of the 
Nobility of Denmark) ; Dansk Historisk Tidskrift (Danish 
Historical Journal, which often contains articles of interest 
for the genealogist) ; Genealogisk og Biographisk Archiv; 
Genealogisk Tidskrift; Genealogiske og Personalhistoriske 
Meddelselser (1925) ; and Personalhistorisk Tidskrift. 

Finland: Attertavlor for de pa Finlands Riddarhus (pedi- 
gree book of the families matriculated in the Finnish House 
of Knights) ; Finlands Riddarskaps Adels Vapenbok (Book 
of Coats-of-Arms of the Finnish Knighthood and Nobility) ; 
Finsk Historisk Bibliografi (Finnish historical Bibliogra- 
phy), by J. Vallinkoski and H. Schuman (contains sections of 
genealogical and historic-genealogical works for Finland and 
Sweden) ; Finsk Historisk Bibliografi, 1901-25, by A. Melin- 
iemi and Ella Kivikoski (valuable) ; and Genos, a magazine 


published by the Genealogiski Samfundet (Genealogical 
Society of Finland). 

Norway: Historiske Samlinger (Historical Collections); 
Norsk Slekthistorisk Tidskrift (Journal of Norwegian 
Family History; also occasionally contains articles on Fin- 
land and the other Scandinavian countries) ; Norske Stamtav- 
ler (Norwegian Pedigrees), by W. Lassen; Norske Slegter 
(Norwegian Families), by H. K. Steffens; and Norsk 
Tidskrift for Genealogi (Norwegian Genealogical Journal). 

Sweden: Aldre Svenska Frdlsesldkter (Old Swedish Gen- 
try), by F. Wernstedt (1957) ; Den Introducerade Svenska 
Adelns Attartavlor, by Gustaf Elgenstierna (9 vols., 1925-36 
— index in vol. 9 ; valuable record of all present as well as ex- 
tinct Swedish noble houses) ; Ny Svensk Sldktbok (New 
Swedish Family Book), by K. A. K. Leijonhufvud; Svenska 
Slakter, Swedish Families), by T. Uggla and V. Ljungfors 
(4 vols., 1908-15) ; Sveriges Ridderskaps och Adels Kalender 
(Calendar of the Swedish Knighthood and Nobility; a year- 
book) . 

Original Sources 1 

Most of the works listed above can be found in the Library 
of Congress in Washington, the New York Public Library, 
and other large libraries. But, after the printed works on 
Scandinavian genealogy have been exhausted, the researcher 
must turn to the primary sources in the countries themselves. 
Such sources often offer difficulties for the genealogist who is 
not thoroughly familiar with the languages and, in many cases, 
even if he knows the languages well. This is especially so in 
Finland, where the researcher must know both Swedish and 
Finnish if he is to be successful. In Finland even a person 
who has a complete command of the two languages often en- 
counters great, even insurmountable, difficulties in tracing a 

1 This section is based for the most part on Archibald P. Bennett's A 
Guide for Genealogical Research (1951), pp. 246-248 (Denmark), 252-255 
(Finland), 259-260 (Norway), and 261-262 (Sweden); Dr. Ernst 
Posner's Archival Repositories in Enemy Occupied Countries of North- 
west Europe (The National Archives, Jan. 1944), pp. 36-42 (Denmark 
and Norway). 


Finnish name. Due to the patriotic spirit often found in 
certain Finnish circles many people, especially among the 
educated, have changed their Swedish names (and in some 
cases other foreign names), or translated them into their 
Finnish equivalent, as has been done in some cases in this 
country (for example, Sjostrand is now Seashore). There 
is still another difficulty that besets the genealogist who works 
in Finnish sources. We find names of places that once 
existed but are no longer printed on the maps, thus necessitat- 
ing the use of old maps and books and histories of many 

Denmark: The earliest parish registers (Lutheran) in 
Denmark date from 1572; only a few were kept prior to 
1641. By 1685, approximately half the parishes maintained 
such records, and from the 18th century all of the parishes 
were doing so. The entries included infant baptisms, con- 
firmations, engagements, marriages, burials, membership 
lists, etc. The parish clergyman recorded all births in his 
register, whether or not the persons concerned were of the 
Lutheran faith. The original records from the earliest period 
to 1890 are in the Riksarchiv ( State Archives) at Copen- 
hagen, and the Provincial Archives at Aabenraa, Odense, and 
Viborg. The registers since 1890 are in the custody of the 
respective parishes. 

Census enumerations were taken in Denmark and her pos- 
sessions in 1787, 1801, 1834, 1840, 1845, 1850, 1855, 1860, 
1870, 1880, 1885, 1890, and every ten years following 1890. 
The schedules from 1787-1840 inclusive listed each person in 
the family, giving his name, address, family position, age, 
marital status, and occupation. In later years, additions 
were made to these records, such as birthplaces, church affil- 
iations, and dates of birth. Census returns after 1890 are 
not available to the public, but the earlier returns may be 
consulted at the State Archives in Copenhagen. 

The military levying rolls were begun in 1788, and the 
navy levying rolls in 1802, although the island of Fyn had the 
latter as early as 1796. Here were listed each male individ- 


ual, his father, his own place of birth, age, height, residence, 

The Skifteprotokoller, or probate records, were maintained 
as early as 1574, but it was not until 1683 that probate records 
were generally kept in Denmark. These records are as 
valuable as the parish registers for the data they provide on 
deceased persons and their families. 

A very few records of land tenures ( Jordeb0ger) were kept 
as early as 1500, but they were maintained in considerable 
number after 1600, and by 1660 the provinces kept such 
records generally. These records give the names of the copy- 
holder, sometimes his parish of birth, the names of the former 
copyholders, and their relationships to former holders of the 

The marriage license records (Kopulationsprotokoller) 
exist for the city of Copenhagen only, and cover the period 

The originals of all of the above records can be found in the 
State Archives at Copenhagen. Fortunately, The Genea- 
logical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day 
Saints has been extremely active in Scandinavia, with the 
result that all of these records, generally down to 1860, have 
been microfilmed and are available to researchers in Salt Lake 

A little-known archival establishment in Denmark is The 
Emigrant Archives at Aalborg, where are maintained letters, 
diaries, and autobiographies of Danish emigrants, together 
with many of their portraits and pictures of their houses, 
farms, and places of business. 

Finland : Finnish parish registers begin in 1648, and they 
contain records of births, baptisms, proclamations, deaths, 
and burials. Another type of ecclesiastical record is the 
group known as house examination records, which were 
started in 1667. They list the families of the parish, in- 
cluding all members of the household, dates of birth and death, 
where they came from, where they moved to, etc. The parish 
minister is the custodian of a variety of records — the church 


registers, the house examination records, the confirmation rec- 
ords, the change of residence records (started in 1686, but 
the oldest extant records date from 1722) ; the church ac- 
counts, and the private parish inventories (records of widow- 
ers and widows in connection with marriage proclamations). 
The Central Government Archives at Helsinki (Helsing- 
fors) has on deposit the transcripts of church records from 
1648 to 1850 (they are owned by the Genealogical Society of 
Finland), old account records, 1538-1634 (information about 
land owners, persons employed in the collection of state taxes, 
etc.), new account records, 1635-1809 (military lists, records 
relating to ownership of land, etc.), census records, 1810- 
present (these records are really tax lists), court records, 
1620-present (wills and inventories when involved in court 
cases, dates of sale of farms and houses and legal confirmation 
of their possession with some data about family relationships, 
marriages, guardianships, etc.), and the General Register of 
Inhabitants of Finland, 1539-1809 (general index of genea- 
logical data based on the accounts and church records in the 
Central Government Archives). 

All of the above-mentioned records are available on micro- 
film at The Genealogical Society at Salt Lake City. 

Norway : The earliest parish register, that of Andabu, be- 
gins in 1623, but generally such registers do not commence 
until 1700. The original registers are in the Statsarkiv 
(State Archives) at Oslo, from the beginning until 1850, and 
the Provincial Archives at Bergen, Christiansand, Hamar, and 

The census returns were really tax lists; they were taken 
in 1664, 1701, 1801, 1865, 1875, 1890, and every ten years 
thereafter. Returns from 1664 to 1865 are in the State 
Archives at Oslo, but those for later years are in the various 
Provincial Archives. 

The Norwegian probate records ( Shift eprotokoller) date 
from about 1550, in the cities, and from late in the 17th cen- 
tury in the rural areas. The originals are in the Provincial 


The Provincial Archives also have the mortgage books, the 
earliest of which date from before 1700; they are arranged 
chronologically by sheriff's offices, of which there are about 
60. These records provide information about estates, sale 
contracts, mortgages, freeholders, etc. 

The rent roll books for 1660, 1723, and 1838 are in the State 
Archives at Oslo, and give data about land ownership, their 
possessors, inhabitants, domestic animals, etc. 

Microfilm copies of these records are on file at The Genea- 
logical Society, Salt Lake City. 

Sweden: The Swedish parish records (Kyrkobockerna) 
include church registers, house examination records, removal 
records, and biographical records and obituaries. The earliest 
such records date from 1622, but it was not until 1686 that 
laws were passed requiring parish ministers to keep them. 
They are kept in the various Provincial Archives. 

The National Archives at Stockholm have in their custody 
census records and land records, although a duplicate copy of 
land records may be found in the Provincial Archives. 

Microfilm copies of these records are available also at The 
Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City. 

Part 5 





Technically, the study of coats of arms, or Armory, is a 
branch of the larger study, Heraldry, which includes all that 
pertains to the duties of heralds, such as the conduct of tourna- 
ments, the establishment of precedence, the marshaling of 
coronations and other ceremonies, etc. ; but since heraldry, in 
popular language, means the study of coats of arms, the word 
is here used in that sense. 


In order to be heraldic, a design must fulfill three require- 
ments: (1) It must be displayed on some article of military 
equipment, such as a shield, flag, helmet, etc.; (2) it must be 
hereditary; and (3) it must conform to the standards of 
design set by custom. 

The pennon attached to the lance was very probably the 
first object to be thus decorated because it would best serve 
the purpose of making a rallying point for the soldiery en- 
listed under one overlord ; but the broad surface of the shield 
offered a favorable means of display, and the garment of the 
knight, armorially decorated, explains the use of the term 
coat of arms. The military use, which was the first, is re- 
flected in the German term for a coat of arms, "Wappen", 
etymologically related to the word weapon, as well as to the 
later German word, "Waff en", which means the same thing. 
At first purely military, the coat of arms was soon adopted 
into ecclesiastical and secular use in general. 

The hereditary feature distinguishes the coat of arms from 
arbitrary shield decoration which is probably as early as the 
use of the shield itself. We find it among the ancient Greeks 
and Romans, the ancient Peruvians, and even today among 
African tribes. 

There is something to be said in favor of the very first 


coats of arms having been territorial rather than personal, 
and something of this has come down to our times. Thus, the 
arms of the King of England are not his personal, family 
arms, but those of his realm, and on the Continent the much 
divided arms of the higher nobility are composed of territorial 
coats with the family arms placed on a small shield in the 
middle. Such arms went with the land, and when one 
dynasty was succeeded by another, all that was needed was a 
change in the family arms which occupied the middle shield. 

The design on a knight's shield naturally became a family 
symbol cherished by his sons and daughters, so that it became 
customary for them to use it in their turn, often with some 
minor alteration to distinguish the son from the father, as well 
as the different sons from each other. As time went on and 
associations gathered about the family symbol it was jealously 
guarded against use by others, and such misuse became the 
subject of legal trials and personal combat. 

Early custom established what was and what was not 
appropriate as the design of a coat of arms. It is true 
that in the period of decadence many "horrible examples" 
have had official sanction; but this does not justify classifying 
as coats of arms, merely because they are enclosed within the 
outline of a shield, the many state and municipal symbols, 
to say nothing of trademarks. The town of Crewe, in Chesh- 
ire, England, for example, rejoices in a shield divided into 
four quarters each showing a different mode of transportation 
— a canal boat, a stage coach, a pack horse and a horse with 
two riders — and the crest is a locomotive! A dispenser of 
toilet paper in Boston, Massachusetts, used a shield divided 
into three fields, each displaying the form in which his prod- 
uct was to be had — in rolls, in boxes and in pads; above the 
shield is a royal crown with the name KING in large letters 
on the circlet. It would be hard for the student of heraldry 
to whip up much interest in such productions. 


The rules of heraldic design are not a formulated code; 
they are those rules which have become set by actual usage 


because they have been found valuable, and the term is used 
in the sense that we say that something is true "as a rule." 

The fundamental purpose of a shield-design of an armorial 
nature is its identification at a distance, which is why the 
design should be in large contrasting masses and colors. This 
gave rise to the rule that is known to everyone, that color 
must not be placed on color nor metal on metal. The heraldic 
pigments are white, yellow, red, blue, black and green ; rarely, 
and in small amounts only, orange, purple and crimson. The 
latter mixed colors are too easily confused, especially if 
faded by sunlight and discolored by time, with their com- 
ponents, so they are generally avoided. White and yellow 
(the "metals") are light in comparison with red, blue, black 
and green (the "colors") ; so, in order to obtain distant visi- 
bility, the light is used in contrast to the dark, and, as any 
sign painter can testify, black on yellow carries further than 
blue on green. Otto Hupp, the great German authority who 
died not long ago, has made an interesting observation : That 
shields with a green field, although common in the earliest 
times, soon became very unusual — presumably because they 
were not easily seen at a distance against the green of fields 
and woods. In the painting of small details, such as the 
tongue and claws of a lion, the rule is disregarded; a gold 
lion on a blue field is generally shown with a red tongue and 
claws. Though they would not be distinguishable at a dis- 
tance they are wholly unimportant to the picture as a whole, 
and painting them red enlivens the design when seen nearby. 


Like any other subject, heraldry has its own terms, which 
are largely derived from the French in the case of English 
heraldry, because French was the court language when 
heraldry arose. There is really no need of saying gules in- 
stead of red, azure instead of blue and sable instead of black ; 
the common words answer just as well and are always used 
in German heraldry. The case is different in the subject of 
the designs; surely there is no advantage in saying "a blue 
shield crossed diagonally by a yellow straightsided band run- 


ning from the upper left corner to the lower right side" when 
heraldic shorthand says it all in "Azure a bend gold." This 
brings up the matter of heraldic right and left; the point of 
view from which it is determined is that of the bearer of the 
shield, not the observer, just as stage right and left are deter- 
mined from the point of view of the actor and not of the 
spectator; consequently, "dexter" means the observer's left 
and "sinister" the observer's right hand. In Tudor times, 
when euphuism became fashionable, some of the earlier books 
on heraldry were written ; and it was but natural, when every 
subject had to become a "mystery", that heraldry, especially 
since it was so closely associated with court life, came to be 
overloaded with all sorts of absurd rules and expressions, so 
much so that one of the heralds declared that it was "a study 
which loads the memory without improving the understand- 
ing." Quite true, in his time ; but this deterrent factor is fast 
being thrown into discard and no serious student of heraldry 
of today will maintain that if a roundel is blue it must be 
called a hurt, if black an ogress, if red a torteau, etc. 


Heraldry was unknown at the time of the first Crusade; 
it was in full bloom by the time of the second. The reason 
for its sudden appearance and its immediate use in all Chris- 
tian countries is attributed to the need of distinguishing sym- 
bols when, for the first time, warriors from so many different 
countries assembled under common leadership. In spite of 
the apparently heraldic decoration of shields and pennons in 
the Bayeux Tapestry (1066) no true heraldry is shown there; 
the same warrior appears in different sections with different 
shield designs, and the designs there borne did not become 
hereditary. The first Crusade was from 1096 to 1099 and the 
second in 1147; between these dates, in about 1135, we find 
seals displaying shields with designs which we know be- 
come hereditary. Seals are our first and best pieces of evi- 
dence. Not only have all of the original objects — helms, 
shields, surcoats, etc., — on which heraldic designs were first 
shown long since moldered away ; but in that age, when only 


clerics knew how to read and write, a man's seal was his alter 
ego; it actually represented the owner himself. This explains 
the great perturbation which followed the accidental loss of 
the matrix of a seal, for it deprived the owner of any way 
of authenticating documents, since he could not sign his own 
name. When Richard Fs chancellor, with the Great Seal 
hung around his neck, was drowned at Rhodes, the king de- 
clared all documents sealed with the lost matrix to be void, 
so that all who had them had to bring them in and obtain 
new charters sealed with the new seal — a considerable source 
of revenue to the spendthrift king! 

The Middle Ages embrace all of the heraldic period — its 
beginning, its development, its burgeoning and its deca- 
dence, though its time of real decay came about a century ago. 
It began as a military necessity, at first limited to the higher 
nobility, but very soon became a social custom among the 
gentry, spreading in its use to ecclesiastical and secular 
foundations, municipalities, societies and guilds. Its study, 
therefore, really necessitates some knowledge of the life of 
the Middle Ages, and its usage needs to be interpreted from 
a mediaeval point of view. What followed the Middle Ages 
is of interest, of course, but it forms, as it were, an appendage 
rather than a subject in its own right. 

Source Material 

The very earliest source material which has survived to 
our times lies in the seals preserved on old documents, and 
secondly, in the pictorial embellishments of mediaeval docu- 
ments ; included among the latter are those highly interesting 
collections of coats of arms, pictorial or descriptive, occasion- 
ally both, of those who were present on some particular oc- 
casion or which the compiler had reason to wish to remember. 
The latter are known as rolls of arms, and exist in many lands 
— England, France, Germany, Scotland, etc. 

The old sealing wax, made of bees' wax, has astonishing 
powers of endurance when guarded against excessive heat 
and against pressure. It is wholly different from the brittle 
modern sealing "wax" which is really a lacquer. For this 


reason, it has endured when the documents to which it was 
attached have been destroyed by damp and by decay; means 
have also been devised for the faithful reproduction of all de- 
tails in durable materials so that copies of the same seal may 
be in the hands of many scholars. The advent of photog- 
raphy has spread abroad in book form accurate pictures of 
ancient seals, so that the student no longer has to rely on the 
intrepretation of the engraver. 

The poets of the 13th century seem to have been impressed 
by the splendid appearance of the knights at military musters, 
at sieges, at tournaments, etc., and have left us descriptions of 
the shields and flags displayed on those occasions. The 
heralds, too, had occasion to make records for their own ref- 
erence purposes, and many of these, especially in England, 
have been preserved and are today the subject of painstaking 

The earliest known treatise on heraldry is the "Tractatus 
de Armis" by "Johan. de Bado Aureo" (ca. 1394) ; Evan John 
Jones, in his Mediaeval Heraldry (1943) offers evidence to 
show that the author was John Trevor, Bishop of St. Asaph. 
The next was the "De Studio Militari ,, by Nicolas Upton (ca. 
1441). Both of these dates antedate the invention of print- 
ing and the two works were first printed (in one volume) 
by Edward Bysshe, Clarenceux King of Arms, in 1654. The 
first printed work on heraldry in the English language was 
The Boke of Saint Albans, anonymous, printed at Saint Al- 
bans in 1486; its source material appears to be the work of 
Nicolas Upton as well as a French manuscript. A facsimile 
reproduction was brought out by William Blades in 1901. 

The Title to Arms 

There can be no doubt that from the earliest times coats of 
arms were merely assumed at will by those to whom they were 
useful. They were, it is true, the mark of a certain social 
class ; and yet, since the right to bear them is hereditary and 
since families suffer vicissitudes, it is equally certain that the 
right exists in the case of individuals in very humble circum- 
stances. It was not long before the reigning powers dis- 


covered that the right to bear arms was looked upon as a 
privilege which they could make useful, so that they began 
to grant arms to those who wished to have them from an 
official source, and were willing to pay for the privilege. 
Hence has arisen the erroneous belief that any given coat of 
arms must have been granted, in the first place, because of 
some distinguished service to the prince or the state ; whereas, 
in fact, it was probably first assumed because it was needed. 
Bearing a coat of arms has been compared to wearing a gold 
watch ; it is true that gold watches are presented by firms and 
corporations to individuals who have served them long and 
well, but the wearing of a gold watch does not prove any such 
service — it may have been inherited from father and grand- 
father, and it may have been bought, when his circumstances 
allowed it, by the man who carries it. 

On the Continent the right to assume a coat of arms has 
been called by a competent writer the very cornerstone of 
heraldry but, of course, the new coat must not conflict with 
any other coat. 

In England there has never been, so far as I know, any act 
of Parliament regulating the bearing of coat-armor. Never- 
theless, an officer of the College of Arms has stated in a recent 
publication that "Entitlement to Arms is created by Letters 
Patent of Arms, the Arms being granted, under Warrant from 
the Earl Marshal, to an individual and his descendants in the 
male line, according to the Laws of Arms." This statement 
is based on recent legal decisions in the courts in England, so 
it appears that there the right of the College of Arms to regu- 
late the use of arms is recognized in spite of the absence of 
any act of Parliament. 

In Scotland, the matter has long been regulated by Parlia- 
ment; nobody in Scotland may bear arms until they have 
been matriculated in the Lyon Office (corresponding to the 
English College of Arms) which stipulates the exact design. 

Many people in the United States imagine that the use of 
a coat of arms is in some way undemocratic. It is true that 
we do not use titles, but a coat of arms does not presuppose 


a title. By assuming a coat of arms a man does not claim 
high lineage; he merely adopts a convenient and picturesque 
mode of marking his possessions in place of the bald use of 
lettering. George Washington inherited and used his coat of 
arms on his book-plate. Thomas Jefferson believed that his 
family had a coat of arms and had a search made for it in 
London. Even Benjamin Franklin used arms, though it must 
be confessed that his right, not to arms per se, but to the de- 
sign that he used, has never been shown. 

In Switzerland, that most truly democratic of countries, 
there are coats of arms for every canton and for the great 
majority of the towns, and any Swiss individual has a right 
to use arms, whether inherited or personally assumed. 


Coats of arms have been used in almost every imaginable 
way. They first appeared, as has been said, on the pennons, 
shields, helms and surcoats of the military; then on seals; 
their use was extended to buildings, carved over the gate on 
the outside and over the mantel in the inside, as well as in 
stained glass windows and on furniture and furnishings; on 
tombs both within and without the churches ; later painted on 
coaches and on chinaware and engraved on silver; and more 
recently embossed on letter paper and printed or engraved on 
book-plates. In this country, private arms are seldom seen 
publicly displayed, and perhaps their greatest field of use 
is on book-plates where they are seen only by the owner and 
his friends. Since, according to ancient usage, the arms 
stood for the man himself a coat of arms is far more appro- 
priate for a book-plate than is a picture of the owner's house, 
a library interior, or a composition indicating all the subjects 
in which he is interested. Theoretically, the use of a coat of 
arms makes unnecessary the name of the bearer; but so few 
of us are generally known by our arms today that in the case 
of a book-plate, the addition of the owner's name is advisable. 

Armorial Design 

The earliest coats of arms were very simple. Two strongly 


contrasting pigments, red and white, blue and yellow, etc., 
laid on in two or three large areas worked best for distant 
visibility and identification. As time went on and designs 
multiplied greater elaboration is found. By the period of the 
Tudors, when many "new men" came to the fore and had to 
have new coats, symbolism also became popular and the shield 
became more of a show piece than a military necessity ; so we 
find much overloading with many charges and a consequent 
loss of the simplicity which had once been so important. 

In an elder day it had been found that allusions to name, 
estate or office in the design of the arms furnished a useful jog 
to the memory; for instance, the family of Bolles had a blue 
shield with three silver bowls, and the branch of this family 
whose seat was at Swineshead added a golden swine's head 
set into each bowl. The elaboration of Tudor times is well 
illustrated by the arms of Thomas Cardinal Wolsey; the 
reasons for its design are set forth in Historic Heraldry of 
Britain, by Anthony R. Wagner, Portcullis Pursuivant (now 
Richmond Herald) : "It was reasonably conjectured by Ever- 
ard Green, Somerset Herald (The Nineteenth Century, June 
1896), that we see in Wolsey's Arms 'the sable shield and 
cross engrailed of the Uffords, Earls of Suffolk' ; Wolsey being 
the son of an Ipswich butcher; 'in the azure leopards' faces 
those of the coat of De la Pole, Earls of Suffolk ; in the purple 
lion, the badge of Pope Leo X; in the rose, the Lancastrian 
sympathies of the builder of Cardinals' College (Christ 
Church) Oxford; and in the choughs, the reputed or assigned 
Arms of St. Thomas of Canterbury — argent three choughs 
proper. Thus, in the cardinal's coat we see his county and 
its history (i.e., its two earldoms), his religion and his 
politics, his Christian name and his patron saint." Such al- 
lusive heraldry, instead of aiding the memory, requires an inti- 
mate knowledge not only of the person but of the times and 
the places where he lived. 

Just as the earliest armorial designs were simple, so were 
their earliest illustrations. The mantling, in particular, was 
merely a simple scarf which covered the top and the back of 
the helm, designed to protect the knight from the heat of the 


sun. As heraldic illustration advanced, the mantling became 
more and more profuse, convoluted and slashed, reaching its 
apex of beauty in the hands of Albrecht Durer in the earliest 
years of the 16th century. In his work, however, we see the 
beginning of the decadence of heraldic painting. The design 
on a shield was painted; consequently it was flat and not 
modelled, and in representing it this should be shown. Durer, 
however, was too great an artist to stop when he should ; his 
pencil tempted him on, and his designs of shields generally 
have all the beauty and modelling of a finished painting of an 
object. Thus, in his well-known Coat of Arms with a Skull, 
the effect is what would have been obtained had he taken an 
actual skull, cut it in two vertically, and then affixed the front 
half to the shield. The Germans have always kept more or 
less of the mediaeval in their heraldic work, but in England 
there developed a daintiness of design, which, although in it- 
self pretty if not actually beautiful, was unsuited to heraldic 
illustration, which should always be vigorous, masculine and 
bold. A reaction, set in in the 1880s which at first went too 
far, even to the grotesque, but the heraldic design of today in 
the hands of competent artists who follow the mediaeval 
usages is at a very high level. 


Today, except in Scotland, a coat of arms is looked upon as 
a family possession and all members of the family may bear 
the same arms. In Scotland, each individual member, on 
reaching maturity, is expected to have his arms matriculated 
in the Lyon Office, where some alteration is made to dis- 
tinguish his arms from those of the other members of the 

In early heraldry, this was frequently done, sometimes by 
a change in the colors, by a change in their disposition, or by a 
change in the number of the charges. At a later period, the 
shield of the eldest son bore a "label", i. e., a narrow strip 
crossing the shield near the top with (generally) three tags 
hanging from it. Still later, the younger sons marked their 
position in the family by means of small added marks, such as 


a crescent, a five-pointed star, a "martlet" which was a swal- 
low-like bird, etc. The position and the color of these small 
marks was generally left to the discretion of the artist, so 
that in a description of a coat of arms we often see at the end 
"a crescent for difference" and nothing more. 

Common Errors 

The earliest coats of arms were merely assumed by their 
bearers, and this has always continued to be the practice ex- 
cept in Scotland, where since the 17th century the matter of 
using arms has been regulated by Act of Parliament, and in 
England, where the Court of Chivalry has jurisdiction. For 
this reason, it is a mistake to suppose that one's family has a 
right to a certain coat of arms because it was granted to an 
ancestor for important services to the state, military or other- 
wise. It is far more likely that when he reached a certain 
social grade he assumed a coat of arms as a matter of course, 
just as Samuel Pepys sported a sword when he felt that his 
position warranted it. 

Everybody knows, or thinks that he knows, that illegitimacy 
is shown by a "bar sinister". "Sinister" indicates that the 
charge is shown in the opposite way to its usual position, in 
other words as if seen in a mirror. Since a bar is a charge 
which crosses the field horizontally, its mirror picture would 
be unchanged; moreover, a bar is not used singly. The con- 
fusion arises from the French word "barre" (which is also 
used in Scotland) meaning what is in English heraldry called 
a bend, that is a band which crosses the shield diagonally from 
the upper dexter (observer's left) corner to the lower sinister 
(observer's right) side. A bend sinister takes the opposite 
course; and even this is not the badge of illegitimacy. If its 
ends are cut off, so that it does not reach to the upper corner 
or to the lower side, it is called a baton and not a bend ; and 
the baton sinister is one of a number of indications of il- 

Another misconception is that certain charges have cer- 
tain meanings, for example, that a scallop shell indicates that 
the bearer went on a pilgrimage — preferably, of course, a 


Crusade. Some might have been chosen for such a meaning; 
but, as Oswald Barron has pointed out, scallops are much 
more likely to mean that the bearer came from the part of 
England where the great family of Scales bore the six scallop 
shells which alluded to their name; in the same way, the 
noticeable prevalence of chevrons in English heraldry has 
been supposed to point to the enormous holdings of the great 
family of Clare, whose arms were three red chevrons on a 
golden shield. Some reason there doubtless was for the 
original choice of a charge, and in many cases, a great many 
cases, it mav be shown to have been allusive to name, estate 
or office, like the three silver pence of Penn; the six 
"fountains", divided by a bend, of Stourton whose park pale 
had on each side three fountain-heads which together formed 
the river Stour ; or the cheeky coat of Stewart pointing to his 
stewardship over the exchequer. 

Another common error is the belief that every family of 
respectable social standing. must have a coat of arms if only 
it could be found. Nothing could be further from the fact. 
In the course of time families pass through vicissitudes, and 
in both directions; the prominent families of today may 
come from people of humble station at the time of the immi- 
gration, and thus have no hereditary arms, whereas it may be 
that today's day laborer may be a descendant of some old Eng- 
lish county family which figures in a Visitation. Linked with 
this error is the other which assumes that identity of name 
presupposes identity of family, so that if there is a coat of 
arms borne at some time by someone of the same name it is 
right to assume that anyone of that surname may use the arms 
in question. Even if the name is unusual and is found, let us 
say, in England in only one small locality where there was 
an arms-bearing family of the same name, it is not correct to 
assume relationship ; for the right to a given coat of arms is 
a species of property and its descent generation by gener- 
ation must be proved in order to establish a claim. In many 
cases, family tradition tells that an old armorial seal, painting, 
piece of silver, etc., was brought to this country by the first- 
comer. The style of the work usually makes it possible to 


approximate its date. So far, I have seen just one water 
color armorial painting which I believe to have been imported 
by the 17th-century immigrant; and I know of an oil color 
hatchment to which the usual tradition is attached, but its 
design is just that of a well-known heraldic artist who was 
working in Boston as late as 1744 when a member of this 
family died, for whom the hatchment was in all probability 

Value to the Genealogist 

Heraldry has been called the hand-maiden of history be- 
cause a knowledge of the subject has often led to the clue 
which unravelled some problem, and there have been cases 
where the unbroken use of a certain coat of arms has led to 
the recovery of property. Certain forms of design are com- 
mon in certain districts, because of the tendency (above- 
mentioned) of men to incorporate in their arms some allusion 
to their overlords, and hence to the place from which the 
family came ; thus, a knowledge of the arms borne by a family 
may furnish a clue which will indicate place of origin and 
through that lead to finding the ancestry. 

Among the early settlers in America there was still a good 
deal of class consciousness, and there is a discernible tendency 
for the men who bore arms to choose their wives from arms- 
bearing families; such a tendency cannot be magnified into 
a rule, of course, yet it may incline one to believe that a wife 
of unknown ancestry is to be looked for among the arms- 
bearing lines of her surname. 

Heraldic phrases are not often found in colonial records 
and letters, but Alice Morse Earle quotes the words of John 
Dunton, the bookseller who came to Boston in 1686, speaking 
of a grass widow, Madam Toy, whose husband was at sea, 
as "Parte per Pale." When the arms of husband and wife 
are shown on one shield it is longitudinally divided down the 
middle — "party per pale" — with the husband's arms on the 
dexter and the wife's on the sinister side. Dunton's mean- 
ing apparently was that just as her arms were parted from 


her husband's by the "party per pale" division, so was she for 
the present parted from her consort. 

Early American Heraldry 

Some of the colonists brought with them armorial seals, 
and in at least three cases pedigree charts ornamented with 
painted coats of arms — Chute, Miner and Scott. Heraldic 
display, however, seems to have been neglected, which is 
quite natural in the case of new colonies planted in the wilder- 
ness. The most natural place for it would be on gravestones, 
and a number of early gravestones bear heraldic devices. 

By the end of the first quarter of the 18th century there 
was a distinct upsurge in the fashion of displaying coats of 
arms, but by this time, about a hundred years or three 
generations from the time of the first comers, their use cannot 
be said to prove anything. Many families which occupied a 
humble position at the immigration had prospered and must 
show coats of arms to be in the fashion, so they adopted the 
arms of some English family of the same or a similar sur- 
name, taking them out of the heraldry books of the period. 

Besides seals and gravestones there may be mentioned 
hatchments, arms painted on a black background, in the form 
of a square which was hung by a corner, used at funerals; 
the "scotcheons" so often mentioned by Judge Sewall as hung 
on the hearse or on the horses; paintings, occasionally 
shaped like hatchments but not so used; and embroidered 
arms which were often designed like hatchments and were 
perhaps copied from them. The embroideries were presum- 
ably home products ; but there sprang up a profession of arms 
painting, certainly in Boston, Salem, Marblehead and New- 
buryport, Massachusetts, and presumably elsewhere in New 
England. The majority of these paintings are about 14 x 10 
inches in size, painted in water colors on laid paper, and 
framed under glass; sometimes the old frames with "French 
putty" decorations have been preserved which are, for some 
occult reason, attributed to Chinese workmanship. 

Samuel Mather, writing the Life (Boston, 1729) of his 
father, Cotton Mather, describes as no "matter of much conse- 


quence" the family arms, making just the same mistakes that 
are found in what appears below a painting of the arms of 
"Mather of Salop" which hangs in the rooms of the American 
Antiquarian Society in Worchester, Massachusetts, which he 
probably had before him when he wrote. Instead of being 
the arms of Mather of Shropshire, however, they turn out to 
be those of Madder of Staffordshire, which adjoins Shropshire 
on the east, and it may be that Mather and Madder are 
variants of the same name. Our Mathers came from Lanca- 
shire, which lies some miles northerly. To those who own 
these old paintings an article about them in the Transactions 
of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts 1942-1946 may be of 

The Committee on Heraldry 

In 1864, a standing Committee on Heraldry was appointed 
by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Its pur- 
pose was to look into the validity of arms used in this country 
and to discourage the use of unauthorized arms. For long, 
it was the feeling of the Committee that no arms should be 
looked upon as valid unless they could be traced back to a 
Visitation, which proved descent of the immigrant to America 
from the Visitation family. Such a restriction narrowed the 
number of valid arms to so small a number that it was the 
expressed opinion of the Committee that it was better for 
Americans not to use arms at all. 

In 1914, with the introduction of some new blood into the 
Committee, there was a change of front, and criteria were 
established which have been in use ever since, namely. 

"For the purposes of the Committee, the word 'proof means : 

(a) The filing with or exhibition to the Committee of the original docu- 
ment or thing relied upon. 

(b) Reference to published books the authority of which is recognized 
by the Committee. (Burke is not accepted as an authority.) 

(c) Copies or photographs of documents, seals, tombstones or other 
objects relied on, together with affidavits or certificates made by Justices 
of the Peace or Notaries, or by other responsible persons. In every 
case, the evidence must be such as to satisfy the minds of the Committee. 


"Proof of the descent of the immigrant from a family rightfully bear- 
ing the arms claimed is the best. 

"Proof that the immigrant brought arms with him from the old 
country, either painted, embroidered, engraved or upon a seal, would 
probably be sufficient. 

"Other forms of proof may, of course, be sufficient. 

"The Committee cannot accept statements as to pedigree or the right 
to arms often found in family genealogies merely because such state- 
ments are in print." 

There was a gradual accumulation of records, and the Com- 
mittee decided to publish the arms which had been registered 
in the form of a continuing Roll of Arms, in parts. The first 
part appeared in 1928 and to date seven parts have appeared. 
It is hoped that the continued support of those who are suf- 
ficently interested to apply for the registration of their own 
arms or the arms of others will enable the Committee to con- 
tinue publication. 

Recommended Reading Matter 

There is probably no subject about which so much "en- 
gaging nonsense" (as it was called by that great authority 
on the Middle Ages, the late Oswald Barron) has been written 
as heraldry; we know of no writing about it until the social 
custom had been in existence for about two centuries, and 
the writers of that time could not imagine a time when it 
did not exist. There being no one to say them nay, they felt 
quite at liberty to invent arms for Alexander the Great and 
for Julius Caesar, for the Virgin Mary and for Noah and 
Adam and Eve, for such shadowy figures as King Arthur and 
his knights, and Prester John. The following works, though 
perhaps disappointing in flights of the imagination, may be 
strongly recommended. 

On the Subject in General. — 

"Heraldry". The article on this subject in the Encyclopaedia Britan- 
nica, 11th edition (1911). This was its first appearance, and in later 
editions it was abbreviated. Though anonymous, it was written by Os- 
wald Barron. 

A Graonnnar of English Heraldry. By W. H. St. John Hope. Cam- 
bridge University Press and G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1913. "A 


small but important manual" ((Horace Round). Recently re-edited by 
Anthony R. Wagner, Richmond Herald. 

Historic Heraldry of Britain. By Anthony R. Wagner, Portcullis Pur- 
suivant (later, Richmond Herald). Oxford University Press, London, 
New York and Toronto, 1939. The subject matter is the heraldic exhibi- 
tion at the World's Fair in New York of that year, but the book contains 
as well an excellent article on heraldry. 

Heraldry in England. By Anthony R. Wagner, Richmond Herald. 
Penguin Books Ltd., London and New York, 1946. A condensed little 
manual of much usefulness and beauty. 

On Special Aspects. — 

The Ancestor. A Quarterly Review. Edited by Oswald Barron, April 
1902 to January 1905. Archibald Constable & Co., Ltd., Westminster. 
A mine of useful information, with, articles by various authorities in- 
cluding the editor. 

Heralds Heraldry in the Middle Ages; An inquiry into the Growth of 
the Armorial Function of Heralds. By Anthony R. Wagner, Portcullis 
Pursuivant (later, Richmond Herald). Oxford University Press, Lon- 
don, Humphrey Milford, 1939. A piece of original research which throws 
new light on the duties of the mediaeval heralds. 

On Heraldic Art. — 

Heraldry as Art. By G. W. Eve. B. T. Batsford, London, 1907. By 
the well-known designer of heraldic book plates. 

Decorative Heraldry. By G. W. Eve. First edition 1897. Second 
edition 1908, George Bell & Sons, London. Well written and illustrated. 

Heraldry for Craftsmen and Designers. By W. H. St. John Hope. 
The Macmillan Company, New York, 1913. The most generally useful 
book in this field, by a well-known authority. 



During the year 1201, when King John's Justices in Eyre 
journeyed to Cornwall and held court in the Hundred of 
Powdershire, they found a curious case to try as disclosed by 
Select pleas of the Crown. 1 

"William de Ros appeals Ailward Bere, Roger Bald, Robert Merchant, 
and Nicholas Parmenter, for that they came to his house and wickedly 
in the king's peace took away from him a certain villein of his whom 
he kept in chains because he wished to run away, and led him off, and 
in robbery carried away his wife's coffer with one mark of silver and 
other chattels, and this he offers to prove by his son, Robert de Ros, 
who saw it. And Ailward and the others have come and defended the 
felony, robbery and breach of the king's peace, and say that (as the 
custom is in Cornwall) Roger of Prideaux, by the sheriff's orders 
caused twelve men to come together and make oath about the said vil- 
lein, whether he was the king's villein or William's, and it was found 
that he was the king's villein, so the said Roger the serjeant demanded 
that (William) should surrender him, and he refused so (Roger) sent to 
the sheriff, who then sent to deliver (the villein), who, however, had 
escaped and was not to be found, and William makes this appeal be- 
cause he wants to keep the chattels of Thomas (the villein), to wit, two 
oxen, one cow, one mare, two pigs, nine sheep, eleven goats. And that 
this is so the jurors testify. Judgment: William and Robert in mercy 
for the false claim. William's amercement, a half-mark. Robert's 
amercement, a half-mark. Pledge for the mark, Warin, Robert's son. 
Let the king have his chattels from William. Pledge for the chattels, 
Richard, Hervey's son." 

The case is interesting not only because of the early date, 
the three generations of genealogy, and the human interest 
involved, but because it is illustrative of the origin of court 

A court report is the result of an appealed court proceeding, 
the opinion of the justices of the appeal court being printed 
in book form. The records and files of a trial court should 
not be confused with court reports. The records and files 

1 Select Pleas of the Crown, Vol. 1 A. D. 1200-1225, Selden Society, Lon- 
don 1888. 


of the trial court, which include such documents as complaints, 
petitions, answers, wills, and so forth, remain with the clerk 
of the trial court. The judges of the appeal court after read- 
ing the briefs on appeal and hearing oral argument of the 
lawyers for both sides of the controversy write an opinion as 
to why they are affirming or reversing the judgment of the 
trial court. Subsequently, these opinions are printed and ap- 
pear in book form in public and private law libraries. 

Inasmuch as court reports are the source to which a lawyer 
goes to find precedents, it is obvious that the reports were 
created for the benefit of the legal profession and not geneal- 
ogists. However, when a case pertains to real property, will 
contests, and a multitude of other matters involving families, 
the inclusion of genealogical data in reported decisions cannot 
be avoided. 

A genealogist in making a visit to a law library for the 
first time cannot help but realize that hidden away in the law 
libraries throughout the country, lies concealed the solutions 
to many ancestral enigmas that have been plaguing geneal- 
ogists for many years. 

The large law libraries in the United States such as the 
Library of Congress, and the Los Angeles County Law 
Library, in addition to collecting the American and English 
court reports have very complete foreign sections. A person 
interested in French, German, Spanish or genealogy of any 
other country will find a fertile source in the larger law 
libraries; however this chapter will be confined to American 
and English court reports. 

Many law libraries have court reports for the Dominions 
and colonies of the British Empire, and the information given 
here will apply, to a great extent, to their use. 2 

English Court Reports 

Among the oldest court records are the "Year Books", the 
reports of cases from the reign of Edward I to Henry VIII, 

2 A complete list of British and Colonial Law Reports and Legal period- 
icals. Third edition. W. Harold Maxwell and C. R. Brown, Toronto, 


which were taken by the prothonotaries or chief scribes at the 
expense of the crown and published annually, hence the name 
"Year Books". The Selden Society commenced publication of 
the Year Books in 1903 ; volume 17 of the Selden Society publi- 
cations contains volume one of the Year Books. It is sug- 
gested that a thorough examination be made of all Selden 
Society publications, as they contain an abundance of genea- 
logical detail. All volumes contain a name and place index 
which greatly aids the search. 

Shortly after 1500, near the close of the Year Book period, 
Dyer's Reports appeared, which were the first collection of 
cases called "Reports", rather than "Year Books". These 
were followed by Plowden's and Coke's Reports, which are 
comparable to a great extent to modern reports. The work 
commenced by Dyer, Plowden and Coke, has been continued 
from their day down to the present time. 

All of these early reports, together with those more recent, 
have been reprinted in what is called The English Reports, 
consisting of 176 volumes. Except for minor errors in print- 
ing, The English Reports are as dependable as the original re- 
ports, but they are not as easy to use as the Selden Society's 
"Year Books", as they are not as well indexed. The English 
Reports do have a table or index of cases in two volumes that 
lists all of the cases in the work by surname. Thus, if a per- 
son was interested in the Hilton family, the table of cases will 
refer the researcher to cases in which the Hilton family was 
involved as plaintiff only. Unfortunately, the names of de- 
fendants are not arranged alphabetically. Tables of cases are 
also found in volume 24 of Mew's Digest; volumes 45 and 46 
of the English and Empire Digest; and in volume 35 of Hals- 
bury's Laws of England. 

The "Table of Cases", of the above mentioned reports, and 
the indices to the "Year Books", are used in the same manner 
as any index. For example, assume that you are interested 
in the de Maulay family. An examination of the index of 
volume 17, Selden Society, which is also volume one of the 
Year Book Series, discloses considerable information about 


the de Maulay family, in addition to other information on page 

"Peter, son of Peter de Maulay, Roger of Kerdeston and Juliana of 
Gaunt, by their attorney, demand against Joan, wife that was of Robert 
of Driby, the third part of two parts of the manor of H(undemanby). 
Gilbert of Gaunt the elder, father of said Juliana and grandfather of 
said Peter and Roger, whose heirs they are, gave to Gilbert of Gaunt, the 
younger, and Lora his wife, and the heirs of their bodies begotten, and 
which after them, Gilbert and Lora ought to revert to the said Peter, 
Roger and Juliana by form of the said gift for that said Gilbert of 
Gaunt the younger and Lora his wife, died without heirs of their bodies." 

No comment need be made relative to the value of the in- 
formation given in the case of de Maulay v. Driby. Of course, 
a person encounters difficulties when the name is very com- 
mon, in which event it is necessary to examine a considerable 
number of cases to see if the cases involve the family under 

American Court Reports 

The reports of the courts of appeal of the various states 
offer excellent opportunities for solving ancestral tangles. 
The difficulty in their use is not lack of material, but rather 
the lack of adequate indices to make the information readily 
available. The closest approach to an index for the entire 
United States is the table of cases in the American Digest 
System, particularly the table of cases in the Decennial Edi- 
tion of the American Digest, published by the West Publish- 
ing Company, found in volumes 21 to 25, inclusive, and en- 
titled : "A Complete Table of American Cases from 1658 to 
1906." This index or table of cases is particularly valuable 
when the place where the family came from is not known, and 
the surname is uncommon. To use the table of cases is like 
using any index, as it is just a matter of looking according to 
the surname. A reference in a table of cases such as : "Avery 
v. Ray, 1 Massachusetts 11," signifies that Avery's suit against 
Ray will be found reported in volume 1 of the Massachusetts 
reports, at page 11. An examination of this case discloses 
this was an action of trespass against Alpheus Ray brought 
by Horace Avery, an infant under twenty-one years, who 


sued, by his father and guardian, Miles Avery, for an assault 
and battery alleged to have been committed on February 
4, 1803. 

The table of cases found in the American Digest is far from 
satisfactory as an index, as only the surnames of the plaintiffs 
are arranged alphabetically. 

A digest of the case law has been compiled for most states, 
and included as a part of such digests is a table of cases. It 
is, therefore, suggested that the table of cases of the digest 
for the state in which the researcher is interested be examined 

Following is a list of digests which contain a table of cases 
for the states indicated : 3 

Connecticut Digest, 1785 to date. By Richard H. Phillip (1945) 
vol. 3, p. 2261. 

Delaware Cases, 1792-1830. Ed. by Daniel J. Boorstin (1943), 3 vol. 
p. 341. 

District of Columbia Digest, to date. (1937) vol. 12, p. 313. 

Encyclopedic Digest of Georgia Reports. (1910) 

Callaghan's Illinois Digest. By George F. Longsdorf (1926) vol. 15. 
(Covers period subsequent to 1819.) 

Callaghan's Indiana Digest. By Jess C. Weaver. (1934) vol. 16. 
(Covers period subsequent to 1817.) 

The Annotated Louisiana Digest. By Edward F. White and William 
Kernan Dart. (1917) vol. 7, p. 423. (Plaintiffs only.) 

The Maine Digest. By Fred F. Lawrence. (1916) vol. 2, p. 1273. 

Maine Digest Facts and Law. By Charles H. Bartlett and Harry 
Stern. (1932) p. 613. 

The Massachusetts Digest. (1906) vol. 8. 

Mississippi Digest. (1912) Vol. IV, p. 279. 

Digest of Decisions of the Courts of Missouri to December 190 U. vol. 

Digest of Cases Determined in the Supreme Court of New Hampshire 
from 1816 to 1920. By Crawford D. Hening. (1926) p. 1677. 

New Jersey Digest 1790-1931. (1932) vol. 12. 

Abbot's New York Digest, 1794, to date. (1942) vols. 40, 41. 

North Carolina Digest, 1778 to date. (1938) vol. 20. 

3 Space does not permit the listing of every state in the Union. States 
with the oldest court reports are covered. 


Vale Pennsylvania Digest, 1682 to date. (1939) vol. 44. 

The Rhode Island Digest, 1828-1911. By John A. Tillinghast. (1913) 
p. 2484. 

South Carolina Digest, 1783-1886. vol. 2, p. 871. 

Michie's Digest of Tennessee Reports. (1940) vol. 17. 

The Vermont Digest. (1789-1910) vol. 3. 

Mitchie's Digest of Virginia and West Virginia Reports, vol. 10. 

In some instances it is easier to go through each volume of 
the court reports of the state in which a person is interested. 
This is particularly true when the residence of the family is 
known, or if a certain period of years is desired to be covered. 
It goes without saying that if the family were domiciled in 
New Hampshire in 1795, the reports for the state around that 
year would be the logical starting place. Every volume of 
court reports contains an index or table of cases, and this ap- 
plies to every state in the Union. Generally the cases are in- 
dexed according to both plaintiff and defendant; this is an 
advantage over the table of cases in the American Digest 

The various volumes of Court Reports, arranged by states 
and chronologically under each state, are listed in Appendix 
III of Materials and Methods of Legal Research, by Frederick 
C. Hicks (1942), which volume will be in any law library con- 
taining the volumes of Reports. By reference to it, the ap- 
plicable volume for the state and period desired can be readily 

A few additional volumes (not included therein) may well 
be mentioned. These may be found in general as well as law 

Records of the Court of New Castle on Delaware, Vol. I, 1676-1681 
(1904); Vol. II, 1681-1689, Land and Probate (1935). 

Statute Law of Kentucky. By William Littel. 5 vols. (Vol. 1 (1809) 
contains a name index. Although these volumes are all statutory law, 
not court reports, they are mentioned here as they contain considerable 
early genealogical data.) 

Maine Province and Court Reports, 1636-1711. 4 vols. (1928-1958). 

Proceedings of the Maryland Court of Appeals, 1695-1729. Ed. by 
Carroll T. Bond. (1933) 


Journal of the Courts of Common Right and Chancery of East New 
Jersey. Ed. by Preston W. Edsall. (1937). 

The Burlington Court Book: A Record of Quaker Jurisprudence in 
West New Jersey, 1680-1709. Ed. by H. Clay Reed. (1944) 

Minutes of the Commissioners for Detecting and Defeating Con- 
spiracies in the State of New York. 1778-1781. 3 vols. 

Minutes of the Executive Council of the Province of New York, 1668- 
1673. Ed. by Victor Hugo Paltsits. (1910) 

Select Cases of The Mayor's Court of New York City, 167U-178U. Ed. 
by Richard B. Morris. (1935) 

Records of the Vice-Admviralty Court of Rhode Island, 1716-1752. Ed. 
by Dorothy G. Towle. 

South Carolina Chancery Court Records, 1671-1779. Ed. by Anne 
King Gregorie. (1950) 

County Court Records of Accomack-Northampton, Virginia, 1 632-16 U0. 
Ed. by Susie M. Ames. (1954) 

In addition to the court reports of the states to be found 
in every law library, there are some valuable reports which 
are generally not available in many law libraries. Some of 
these volumes are rare books, and when a law library does 
have them, they are often segregated and so may escape at- 

In the Lawyer's Reference Manual of Law Books, by 
Charles C. Soule (Boston, 1884), some valuable sources are 
given. If a researcher will take the time to follow up the 
rare items Soule mentions in the footnotes, he will be richly 
rewarded for his efforts. For instance, on p. 29, footnote 
2 refers to The Militia Reporter, which contains reports of 
four trials by court martial between 1805-1810, published in 
Boston in 1810. Also mentioned is Whitman's Massachusetts 
Libel Case of 1828. 

Unfortunately, the tables of cases in Court Reports list only 
the names of plaintiffs and defendants; the names of other 
persons (not parties to the suit) are not indexed. Therefore, 
a page by page examination of each volume is necessary if a 
thorough search is to be made. This may often be well 

The general belief is that persons of moderate or no means 


would not be involved in a case appealed to a Supreme Court. 
That belief is not true. Particularly in early days, the 
economic or social status of the parties was not a factor; 
the legal principle involved was important. 

In using a table of cases as an index, particular attention 
should be paid to cases where one political subdivision is 
suing another. Such cases often involve paupers or other 
questions of domicile, or matters of jurisdiction; the facts 
brought out may be of considerable genealogical value. 




The studies of genealogy and inherited surnames are in- 
separable for neither can be perfected without the other. 
Every person acquired one or more descriptions or epithets 
distinguishing him from his fellows, and formerly these 
identifying labels were known as surnames, a title which is 
now applied only to those of an hereditary nature. The nick- 
name, formerly an eke-name, i. e., added name, has also 
changed in signification and is today no more than "a dispen- 
sable appellative of an individual used as an alternative to 
his personal name or surname or both". To the failure to 
adopt such limitations in definition much misunderstanding 
and controversy has been due. 

During the past two millenniums various races have in- 
habited and ruled the British Isles, resulting in alterations of 
language, more particularly among the landed gentry, pro- 
fessional classes, and city dwellers. The Romans did not im- 
pose either their speech or elaborate system of nomenclature 
upon the Celtic natives, and with the departure of the legions 
in the 5th century, these innovations passed out. The in- 
digenous Cymry and Gaels remained satisfied with single 
names although they added a wealth of genealogical data not 
so much for personal identification as for its practical value 
in emphasizing rights to land tenure. These miniature pedi- 
grees maintained through the centuries finally led to the great 
number of Welsh surnames in ap-, Scottish, in mac-, and Irish 
in 0', and mac-. 

The withdrawal of the Romans made possible the incursions 
of various Teutonic tribes and these continuing steadily, by 
the 9th century, in the eastern half of Britain, had resulted in 
the establishment of names and language now known as 
Anglo-Saxon or Old English. The individual designations, 


usually compound words having no appropriate reference to 
their bearers, are of special concern to the present subject 
because many survived or were revived as first names to be- 
come family labels centuries later. All attempts to substan- 
tiate the belief that any of these personal descriptions, before 
the Norman Conquest (1066), had become hereditary and 
therefore true surnames have been discredited by further 
inquiry. A pleasing feature of interest to genealogists is that 
one family might take a liking to one alphabetical character, 
the name bestowed upon each child having the same initial 
letter providing a clue to parentage. 

Ireland was not troubled by invaders until the end of the 
8th century when bodies of Northmen (Danes and Norwe- 
gians) came to stay. Both England and Scotland likewise 
supported prosperous colonies of Vikings. 

One-third of the forces of William of Normandy at the 
Battle of Hastings are said to have been Bretons returning 
to the land of their forefathers and who, for a brief time at 
least, remained active in East Anglia. The principal lan- 
guages, then, to be heard in the British Isles, besides Norman- 
French and Anglo-Saxon, were the six Celtic tongues, Welsh, 
Cornish, Breton, Gaelic (Scotland), Manx, and Irish, and 
these, all except Breton, survived until the time when patrony- 
mies were becoming settled. The influence of the Northmen 
must not be overlooked, for surnames, particularly from the 
Orkneys and the Isle of Man, evidence undoubted Scandina- 
vian provenance. The nomenclaturist, who essays to divine 
the origin of an obscure appellative, is faced with wide possi- 
bilities on language alone and the importance of the genea- 
logical investigation in determining the original habitat is 

The Norman introduction of the feudal system, by which 
fiefs were held under the Crown in return for services, 
naturally led to feoffees becoming indicated by the names of 
their estates and these distinctions passing in time to sons and 
grandsons had the earliest chance of becoming recognized as 
the birthright of descendants. There was, however, no 
property in a territorial or, in fact, any other designation and 


in later years those of great seigniories were not infrequently- 
borne by menials. Had the original drafts for Domesday 
Book been preserved valuable data would be obtainable, but 
the fair copy, finished in 1086, omitted most of the secondary 
descriptions then of little or no consequence, although a few 
undoubtedly became transmitted to succeeding generations. 
Half a century later, as an analysis of several thousand entries 
in the Crown muniments, temp. Hen. II, shows, 83 percent of 
persons were given secondary epithets, that is, on parchment, 
but few of these are traceable elsewhere as hereditary sur- 
names. Sometimes on an official roll from one to four alter- 
native descriptions may be found attached to a single baptis- 
mal name. 

No precise date can be assigned for the adoption of sur- 
names in Britain and actually the now general usage derived 
from a gradual process continuing for centuries and serving 
no very weighty purpose except in the denser populated dis- 
tricts. There the greater headway is observed. The earliest 
legal announcement is found in 1267 when the verdict of a 
London jury in the Court of Chancery expressed the view 
that a man's "true name" was that borne by his father. 1 
Many years passed before this practice became accepted cus- 
tom and it has never been insisted upon by jurisprudents, and 
even in course of time when people were prepared to look 
upon second names as heritable property the law denied the 
right. To determine whether a description has become a 
permanent family name, a pedigree is absolutely essential. 

In the 14th century the unsettled nature of second names 
continued, as an analysis of the entries on the Poll Tax Rolls, 
1377, demonstrates. It is seen that 24 percent of the epithets 
employ filiits, de, le, atte (at the), etc., evidence that not many 
more than 76 percent of persons could have had hereditary 
second names. From very early date a few manifold de- 
scriptions are noticeable. By the 14th century what look to 
be multiple font or family names may be found in documents, 
but more often as the result of clerical omission of a prepo- 

1 Calendar of Inquisitions, Misc. (Chanc), I, 183. 


sition or an alias. A ludicrous misuse of a quadruple name 
occurs in Shaw's 15th-century drama, Saint Joan, and ap- 
pearance of a double addition in a pedigree may give a strong 
suspicion of fictitious interpolation, as in a recent prominent 
Howard genealogy. 

One of the most important factors adding enormously to 
the possibility of error in location has been the eastward 
movement of the Celtic races. Documentary search in the 
archives of the Public Record Office has revealed that per- 
sons bearing descriptions associating them with Wales, Brit- 
tany, and Ireland had as early as the 13th century spread 
into every county in England. 2 A little later, Cornishmen 
can also be traced as being as widely dispersed. Welshmen 
went further afield and in 1890, for instance, it was as- 
certained that in Ireland there were 50,000 persons claiming 
the names Wallace, Walsh, and Welsh. 

Fifteenth-century records dealing with the taxation of 
strangers yield a useful indication of the counties most 
fancied by the immigrant representatives of Continental 
races, from which it may be gathered that French, Normans 
and Flemings favoured Devonshire, Wiltshire and Kent. 
Dutchmen and Hollanders had a liking, doubtless, on the 
ground of contiguity, also for Kent and other eastern coun- 
ties. In the 16th century, London had become a chief resort 
of refugees, the Subsidy Roll for 1540 certifying no fewer 
than one-third of the population as being aliens. 

The polyglot difficulties touched upon must have been 
greatly increased by this influx, which long continued, but 
comparatively few of the foreigners can have been able to 
impose their appellatives in native purity on the officious 
English scribes, who had no hesitation in modifying them 
until they sounded familiar, and many incomers had also ac- 
cepted English equivalents. The letters of denization and 
Acts of Naturalisation collected by the Huguenot Society 
supply some thousands of names, the majority closely re- 
sembling English and providing an illustration of how wrong 

2 The lists have been given in The British Race — Gerrrucmic or Celtic? 


it is to assume from an old-time surname a long line of 
domestic ancestry. Here may be seen such distinguished 
names as Carowe, Cotton, Spilman, Wyman, Lever, Poole, 
Trumper, Ingram, Jenner, Putnam, Garrett, etc. 

Perhaps the most astonishing migration has been that of 
Irishmen, the census returns for 1861 showing that no fewer 
than 4 percent of the inhabitants of England gave Ireland as 
the country of birth and they had been also pouring in for 
centuries to become assimilated in countless thousands. They 
have likewise added considerably to the names of Scotland, as 
the directories evidence. Notwithstanding much obfuscation 
of racial identity, the student of British surnames must ever 
be alive to the possibilites of Celtic and Continental prov- 

In determining the genesis of a surname, the first step is 
a search of bygone records to obtain the successive changes of 
orthography with dates and localities. The earliest of these 
will provide a possible clue to language and signification. A 
derivation unbacked by progressive documentation is in most 
cases guesswork leading to such absurd popular origins as 
those attributed to Turnbull, Vinegar, Gosbeck, or Metcalf. 
The onomatologist obtains no aid from a context as does the 
glossarian who gleans from literary sources, and he is unable 
to view a site like the philologist, who determines the purport 
of an archaic place-name. Moreover, in the case of a wide- 
spread appellative the primitive form may well have existed 
in more than one word base. That a modern orthographic or 
phonetic variant may be germinated in several roots independ- 
ently is as certain as that several names may be traced to one 
and the same root. 

Useful clues to surnames may be obtained from repetitions 
in any one manuscript or from duplicated lists or from a 
series of documents. For instance, Abouen, in an eastern 
county in 1330, does not convey much assurance of Celtic 
blood, but followed by Waleys it is safe to conjecture ab Owen, 
now Bowen. In many cases where full documentation is ob- 
tained it will be gathered that the primary vocable has under- 


gone an evolutionary process which may be by initial, medial, 
or final expansion, contraction or internal development. 

The number of formations is considerably increased by 
suffixes. For example, Richard reduced to its pet forms and 
modified by epithesis gives upwards of one hundred further 
surnames. Besides the founding of new varieties by regular 
and recognizable grammatical processes, corruption of orth- 
ography has supplied a remarkable series of puzzles which 
have baffled all inquirers. There are upwards of one hundred 
different ways of representing the thirteen English vowel 
sounds, and diphthongal equations abound. Irregular use of 
the aspirate provides many other deviations sometimes alter- 
ing the signification. Consonantal equations are many. To 
name a few: b=m, p and v: d=g, k, r, and t: /=p and v: 
l—n and r. Faulty ear or misreading may be responsible for 
the freaks. Welsh and Cornish mutations are not to be over- 
looked, nor the wide distinctions in spelling and pronuncia- 
tion in Irish names. 

The number of orthographic modifications of any one name 
obtainable from old scripts and registers is often astonishing, 
several genealogists having compiled lists of one to five 
hundred. The present writer actually found his own name 
spelled with from three to nine letters (Uen-Hewghinge). 

In searching the contemporary manuscripts the nomen- 
claturist should remember that he is at the mercy of the court 
clerk, who at best could only glean first or second-hand from 
illiterates. A description in Latin often served two or more 
variants, thus marisc' might cover Marsh, Marish, or Mar- 

A constant possibility of false lineage is due to foundlings 
being dubbed with fanciful distinctions, as Marlborough, 
Richmond, Ridley, Milton, Bacon, Drake, Nelson, Hogarth, 
etc., leading to later claims of kinship to these notables. 
Another source of difficulty arises from "change of name", 
a practice permitted to anyone. 

Of particular importance to genealogists is the doctrine of 
synonymous change. An addition being looked upon as an 
identification label, words having or appearing to have equal 


signification were considered interchangeable without adverse 
comment. Thus, in 1509, an alias of Edward Doucheman 
was Frise. One Cristemasse had the alternative Yool reg- 
istered in 1386. "De la Guttere" was also officially entered 
as "atte Strete". A 14th-century taxpaper enrolled as le 
Charpentir in 1327 appears five years later as le Wryth. All 
four classes, characteristic, local, genealogical, and occupa- 
tional are here represented. Occasionally, the synomymous 
change might be from one class to another or from one lan- 
guage to another as Evans to Jones. Playnamur was likewise 
Trewelove (Essex 1360). A Smith could be Faber (Lat.), 
Angove (Corn.), Gow (Gael.), or le Feure (Fr.), as most in 
keeping with his district. 

There are two classes of Inherited Surnames and two of 
Acquired Surnames. Of the former (1) Characteristic (6 to 
10 percent) answers: What is his personal peculiarity? (2) 
Local or Locative (40 to 50 percent) : Where is, or was, 
he located? (3) Genealogical (30 to 40 percent) : Who is, or 
was, his most important kinsman? (4) Occupational (12 to 
20 percent) : What is his vocation? There are eighteen sub- 
classes, some of our common surnames as Bell or Cock falling 
into two or more. Descriptions answer to the same interrog- 
atories and follow the same classification as the family name. 
The scope for name composition and multiplication by deri- 
vation and corruption is so wide that probably it is an under- 
estimate to put 100,000 as the number of surnames in the 
British Isles. The Complete System of Descriptions and Sur- 
names is as follows : 

Group I. Inherited Surnames 
Class 1. Characteristic Surnames 

(a) From Appearance, e.g., as Fairfax, Augwin (the white), 
Foljambe, Shortneck, Kicks (dried up). 

(b) From Character, i. e., mental and moral attribute or peculiarity, 
perhaps Simple, Yepe (sly), Sage, Quant (O. F.), Dolittle. 

(c) From Physical Attribute, e. g. as Armstrong, Lefthand. 

(d) From Possession, e.g. Sanzaver (sans avoir "without proper- 
ty"), Chef dor (heraldic). 

(e) From Action or Habit, e. g. Plauntesoyl, Sweetmouth, Pothardy. 


(f) From Condition or Quality, e. g. Jeune (Fr. "Young"), Baseson, 

(g) From Relationship, i.e., consanguinity, kinship, Earn (uncle), 
Ayell (0. P. "grandfather"), Noy (Corn, 'nephew'). 

(h) From Race or Sept., e. g. Fleming, Picard, Lamont, Ju. 

Class 2. Local Surnames 

(a) From Place of Residence or Work, e. g. Wardrobe, Sea wen 
(alder tree), Culverhouse, 

(b) From Late Place of Residence, e. g. Kent, Fife, Cardigan, Cork. 

Class 3. Genealogical Surnames 

(a) From Personal Name of Male Parent, e. g. Fitzpatrick, Widow 
(Guy), Pugh (ap Hugh). 

(b) From Personal Name of Female Parent, e. g. Sybilson, 

(c) From Personal Name of other Relative, e. g. Gilbertmagh, 

(d) From Description or Surname, e. g. Scotson, Vikercosyn. 

Class 4 Occupatioal Surnames 

(a) From Office or Profession, e. g. Dempster, Sturtivant. 

(b) From Mock Office, e. g. King, Dragon. 

(c) From Military Rank, e.g. Bower, Squire, Marrack (soldier). 

(d) From Trade or Vocation, e.g. Faraday (chapman), Crowder 
(fiddler), Caleyx (lime-burner). 

Group II. Acquired Surnames 
Class I. Self-assumed Surnames 

(a) Of Ecclesiastics. An Archbishop Tibold took the name of 

(b) Of Theatrical Artistes. Stage names, Wyndham, Irving, became 

(c) Of Authors — none. 

(d) Of Business Men, e. g. McCall changed to Almack. 

(e) Of Private Persons are common. 

(f) Of Slaves or Apprentices, who having no name took their late 
master's, as du Boulay. 

(g) Of Refugees, e. g. Carrington to Smith during civil war. 
(h) Of Aliens, e. g. Rose from Rosenbaum. 

Class 2. Reputed Surnames 
(a) Of Bastards, who commonly became known by name mother. 


(b) Of Foundlings, e. g. Goldfinch, Coalhouse, Found, Parish, Porto- 

For an original study of surnames of the United Kingdom 
there is no lack of excellent material in both public and private 
archives and particularly in the British Museum and the 
Public Record Office. A large proportion of the oldest docu- 
ments has been printed and indexed by order of the Govern- 
ment or learned societies and several hundred volumes are 
available for reference. This magnificent series of tran- 
scripts is not, however, infallible, for instance in one case 
(1066), the ancient name of Chinchen is made to read Clime- 
hen. In the leading libraries the printed surveys on the sub- 
ject show little of a scientific nature. The first attempt to 
date and cite each change of form was that of Canon C. W. 
Bardsley, but lack of library facilities prevented him from 
using records prior to the Hundred Rolls (c. 1275) and the 
result in many instances is superficial and speculative; never- 
theless the dictionary of 1901 is perhaps the most valuable 
reference for names other than Celtic. 

For a first approach to the study the following works may 
be suggested : 

Bardsley, C. W.; A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames, Lon- 
don, 1901. 

Black, G. F. ; The Surnames of Scotland, New York, 1946. 

Ewen, C. L.; A History of Surnames of the British Isles, London, 

1931. This work contains a bibliography. 

Forssner, Th. ; Germanic Names in England, Uppsala, 1916. 

Harrison, H.; Surnames of the United Kingdom, London, 1912-8. 

Moore, A. W.; Manx Namies, London, 1903. 

Redin, M. ; Studies on Uncompounded Personal Names, Uppsala, 


Searle, W. G.; Onomasticon Anglo-Saxonicum, Cambridge, 1897. 

Woulfe, P.; Sloinnte Gaedhael is Gall, Dublin, 1923. 

With these nine books a beginner, well warned of pitfalls, 
may make a very fair start, but let him remember to take any 
derivation not completely documented with "a pinch of salt". 

(Note: Possibly there should be added to this list a recent book, 
A Dictionary of British Surnames, by P. H. Reaney (1958). Ed.) 



Surnames first came into use in Southern Europe, especially 
in Spain and Italy. They were instituted among the patri- 
cians of Venice in the 11th or 12th century. In other parts 
of Europe they were first borne by the nobles, who took them 
from their castles and estates. From them the custom de- 
scended to the retainers, and finally to the tradesmen, farmers, 
and common people in general. 

From Italy the use of surnames crossed the Alps and be- 
came widespread in Switzerland and in the upper Rhine Valley 
in the 12th century. They were not frequent in North Ger- 
many until the 14th century, and were not widely adopted in 
the Netherlands until the 18th century. In Trieste, in north- 
ern Italy, many families had no surnames until the beginning 
of the 19th century. Surnames were borne in Sweden by 
noble families in the 16th and 17th centuries, but were not in 
general use among the lower classes until the 18th or even the 
19th century. 

European surnames, like their British counterparts, fall 
into four categories, as follows: 

(1) Personal characteristics, such as German Schwarz; 
French Lenoir, both meaning black. 

(2) Geographical: German Rosenberger, one who lives at 
or near a hill of roses; French Picard, a native of Picardie. 

(3) Genealogical: i.e. surnames derived from patro- 
nymics (or, more rarely, from matronymics, or mothers' 
names) : Norwegian Olsson, son of Ole; Swedish Johansson, 
son of Johann ; Spanish Sanchez, son of Sancho. To this cate- 
gory also belongs surnames derived from nicknames, such as 
German Theiss, from Matthias. 

1 Albert H. Gerberich, Ph.D., F. A. S. G., "Geographical Aspects of 
Pennsylvania German Genealogical Study", National Genealogical Society 
Quarterly, vol. 34, Dec. 1946, p. 113; Joseph G. Fucilla, Our Italian Sur- 
names (1949), p. 13; studies by Milton Rubincam of Swedish noble and 
middle-class families, based on Elgenstieraa's Den Introducerade Sven- 
ska Adelns Attartavlor (9 vols.), and Ornberg's Svenska Xttartavlor 
(14 vols.) China adopted surnames centuries before Christ (Smith, 
The Story of Our Names, p. 126). 


(4) Occupational (including professions and offices) : Ger- 
man Zimmermann, French Charpentier ( Norman-Picard 
form, Carpentier), both signifying carpenter; German Bis- 
chof, bishop ; French LeMoyne, monk. 

To these we may add a general category : 

(5) Miscellaneous, which serves as a wonderful catch-all 
for names of other origins, such as those derived from animals 
(French Cochon, pig), and coats-of-arms (Swedish Oxen- 
stierna, so named because this famous noble house bore the 
head of an ox on its shield, and Natt och Dag, meaning "Night 
and Day", because the upper part of its shield was gold, and 
the lower part blue). (See Nordisk Familjebok (1931), vol. 
15, p. 467, for Oxenstiema, and vol. 14, p. 786, for Natt och 

Some genealogical enthusiasts assume that because a family 
shares the same surname with a noble house the two lines 
are descended from the same mediaeval ancestors. It is quite 
likely that the family is derived from a retainer or laborer on 
the lord's estate, and took, or was given, the place name as a 
surname. For instance, the fact that Johann Heinrich 
Schwalbach, a mid-18th century German arrival in Phila- 
delphia, bore the same name as the ancient Hessian noble 
family von Schwalbach, does not necessarily make him a de- 
scendant of that house. Schwalbach (officially, Langenschwal- 
bach) is a place-name, that of a famous health resort in Hes- 
sen. There are cases, of course, in which plebeian families 
can be traced in the male line to a younger branch of a noble 
house, but no assumptions of noble ancestry should be made 
merely on the basis of identical surnames. Each family must 
be independently investigated. 

Names can be misleading. One who has a knowledge of 
German might assume that the Jewish name Drey fuss has the 
meaning "three feet". Actually, it does not. In 1555, the 
Elector of Trier, Johann IV, Count of Isenburg, expelled the 
Jews from Trier (French Treves). They fled mostly to 
France and to Lorraine. As they had no surnames, they were 
inscribed in the municipal records with their given names, to 


which was added the Latin adjective, Trevus, meaning "from 
Treves" (Trier). In France, Trevus became Trefousse, and 
in Lorraine Dreyfuss, and both surnames are found among 
Jewish families to this day. 2 

It must not be assumed that because an American name of 
German origin has a "von" in it, that the family is of noble 
lineage. Many American families with this particle can trace 
to noble ancestors, such as von Lossberg (the name of an 
American Foreign Service officer at Johannesburg, South 
Africa), and von Schweinitz of Pennsylvania and North 
Carolina. But again each family with this important little 
word of three letters must be investigated and stand on its 
own merits. For instance, the American family Fonderberg 
originally was von der Berg, from the mountain. Fonder- 
smith was once von der Schmidt, from the smithy. 

A similar word of caution must be given in connection with 
French names beginning with "de", which can either be the 
noble particle or a preposition. A French family named de 
Miere prides itself on being of noble stock, and in that mis- 
taken belief so uses that form of the name. But in its origin 
the name "de Miere" is derived from the words demierre, 
demiere, dimier, which are traceable to Old French dymierre. 
The last-named word is from Latin decimator, in French 
perceptettr de la dime (disme, in the 12th century), or, in 
plain English,, collector of the tithe. 3 Thus, the "noble" 
family of "de Miere" has swiftly fallen to the relatively ob- 
scure rank of tax-collector! As one writer has expressed it, 
"the use of the preposition de, uniting a place-name with an 
individual name, was formerly as frequent among those of 
plebeian origin as among the nobles." 4 

In Switzerland, in 1783, the Sovereign Council of the Re- 
public of Bern went a bit further, granting authority to all 
middle-class families to assume the particle "de" "if such was 

3 Gerberich, loc. cit., p. 114. 

8 Pierre Chessex, Origine des Nonns de Personnes (1946), p. 112. 

* Ibid., pp. 110-111, quoting Ernest Muret: "L'usage de la preposition 
de unissant un nom de lieu au nom individuel etait jadis aussi frequent 
chez les roturiers que chez les nobles." 


their good pleasure" 6 Thus, Swiss families having this so- 
important little word prefixed to their names may or may not 
be sprung from patrician stock. Only a careful investigation 
will disclose the facts. 

The old Dutch families of New Amsterdam (New York) as- 
sumed surnames from the same general sources as other 
European families: (1) Personal characteristics, such as 
Vroom, Vrooman (wise or pious man), Stille (silent), Krom, 
(bent or crooked, in the sense of crippled), de Lange (tall 
man); (2) Geographical: de Noorman (the Norwegian), 
van Doom (from the village of Doom, province of Utrecht), 
van Rensselaer (name of a farm-estate), Hoogland (high 
land), Beekman (man from the brook); (3) Genealogical: 
Jansen (Johnson, of Long Island, descended from Barent 
Jansen, i. e., Barent, son of Jan Barentz van Driest) , Rutgers, 
of New York City, and Rutsen, of Ulster County, N. Y., (both 
descended in the male line from Rutgers Jacobsz or Jacob- 
sen) ; (4) Occupational: Kuyper, cooper (descended from 
Claes Jansen de kuyper, the cooper), Smid or Smit (the 
Smith), de Clark (the clerk). 7 

The old Spanish families of the present United States have 
names which in translation sound odd to English ears. The 
oldest family of European origin in our country is Solana; 
it has been at St. Augustine, Florida, since before 4 July 1594, 
when Vicente Solana, formerly of La Vila, in the Spanish prov- 
ince of Navarre, married Maria Visente at St. Augustine. 8 
Solana means "strong sunshine, sunny place." Pedro Robledo, 
whose death on 21 May 1598 gave him the dubious distinction 
of being the first European to die in New Mexico, bore a name 
(robledo, robledal) which means oak grove or wood. Several 
New Mexican families named Madrid obviously lived at one 
time in that Spanish city. In California are two related 

6 ibid., p. 111. 

9 In Dutch, de is the definite article. 

7 See Rosalie Fellows Bailey, Dutch Systems in Family Nooning : New 
York-New Jersey (1954). 

8 Information from John I. Coddington, F. A. S, G., and Walter C. 
Hartridge, F. A. S. G. 


families, dating from the 18th century there, Verdugo (which 
means executioner, among others), and Carrillo (small cart). 

The unwary genealogist is often misled by surnames. An 
American family with a good English surname may turn out 
to have a European origin. As examples, the Seeley family 
of upstate New York was originally French Usilie, the Car- 
penter family of Philadelphia was once Zimmermann (of 
which "carpenter" is the English translation), a number of 
Baker families were formerly Becker, etc. In Louisiana, 
where German families settled as early as 1720, a family 
now named Labranche came originally to that French colony 
from Germany, and was surnamed Zweig, which means the 
same thing (branch). Another Louisiana family bearing the 
very proper French name of Fauquel is of German descent, 
its original name having been Vogel. 

German names especially undergo odd transformations. 
The families of Rubincam of Pennsylvania and Revercomb of 
Virginia are descended from the same immigrant ancestor 
who landed in Philadelphia in 1726; both are variants of 
German forms, Rubincam coming from High German Ruben- 
kamp, meaning "turnip field", and Revercomb from Low Ger- 
man Rovekamp, which also means "turnip field". Sounds are 
frequently interchangeable, such as "b" and "p", "g" and "k", 
"<T and "t", "f" and "v". Thus, we have Dambach-Taum- 
baugh, Voight-Focht, Gebhard-Kephart, etc. The Brumbach 
family has become Brumbaugh in some lines and Brownback 
in others, while in one Federal census record Achenbach has 
been disguised as Achingback! 

The reader will find the following bibliography of European 
surnames helpful for a further study of the subject: 

European (General) : 
Smith, Elsdon C: The Story of Our Names (1950). 
Smith, Elsdon C. : Dictionary of American Family Names (1956). 

Dutch : 
Bailey, Rosalie Fellows: Dutch Systems in Family Naming — New York 

and New Jersey (Genealogical Publication No. 12, National Genealogical 
Society, 1954). 


French : 
Chassex, Pierre: Origine des Noms de Personnes (1946). 
Dauzat, Albert: Les Noms de Famille de France (1945). 
Dauzat, Albert: Dictionnaire tittymologique des Noms de Familie et 
Prenoms de France (1955). 

German : 
Heintze, Albert: Die Deutschen Familiennamen. Edited by Prof. Dr. 
Paul Cascorbi (1933). (This work is known generally as Heintze-Cas- 
Gottschald, Max: Deutsche Namenkunde (1954). 

Italian : 
Fucilla, Joseph G. : Our Italian Surnames (19J+9). 

Swiss : 

Les Noms des Families Suisses. Familiennambuch der Schweiz. I Nomi 
di Famiglia Svizzeri. Edited by the Swiss Society of Genealogical 
Studies (2 vols., 1940). 


In addition to the usual abbreviations for academic degrees (Ph.D., 
etc.), the following abbreviations are used for special honors: C. V. 0. — 
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order; F. A. S. G. — Fellow of the 
American Society of Genealogists; F. G. B. S. — Fellow of the New York 
Genealogical and Biographical Society; F. N. G. S. — Fellow of the 
National Genealogical Society; F.R.Hist.S — Fellow of the Royal His- 
torical Society; F. S. A. — Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (London) ; 
F. S. G.— Fellow of the Society of Genealogists (London) ; K. C. V. 0.— 
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. Two periodicals 
frequently mentioned in the following sketches are represented by 
TAG — The American Genealogist (New Haven, Conn.), and NGSQ — 
National Genealogical Society Quarterly (Washington, D. C). 

Rev. Arthur Adams, a.b., a.m., s.t.m., ph.d., f.s.a., 
f.r.hist.s., F.S.G., F.A.S.G., 42 Pinckney St., Boston 6, Mass. 
President Emeritus, American Society of Genealogists. 
Editor, New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 
1949-59. Contributing Editor, NGSQ. 

Harold Bowditch, m.d., f.a.s.g., 12 Pine St., Peterborough, 
N.H. For many years Secretary, Committee on Heraldry, 
New England Historic Genealogical Society. Authority on 

Mrs. Mary Givens Bryan, Atlanta, Ga., Director, Georgia 
Department of Archives and History. Contributing Editor, 
NGSQ. Author of articles on Georgia genealogical sources. 
President, Society of American Archivists, 1959- 

John Insley Coddington, a.b., a.m., f.a.s.g., 11 Walnut 
Street, Bordentown, N. J. Formerly a member of the history 
faculties of Harvard University and Olivet, Swarthmore, and 
Haverford Colleges. Contributing Editor, TAG and NGSQ. 
Lecturer, Institute of Genealogical Research, Washington, 
D. C. 

Meredith B. Colket, Jr., a.b., m.a., f.a.s.g., 2263 Lamber- 
ton Rd., Cleveland Heights, 18, Ohio. Director, Western 
Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland. Director, Institute of 
Genealogical Research of The American University, Washing- 
ton, D. C, Contributing Editor, NGSQ. 


Walter G. Davis, b.a., ll.b., f.a.s.g., f.s.g., P. 0. Box 230, 
Pearl St. Station, Portland, Me. President, American Society 
of Genealogists, since 1958. Past president, Maine Historical 
Society. Contributing Editor, TAG and NGSQ. 

Leon deValinger, Jr., a.b., m.a., Hall of Records, Dover, 
Del. State Archivist of Delaware. Director, Delaware His- 
torical Society. Co-Founder, Society of American Archivists 
and Delaware Swedish Colonial Society. 

John Frederick Dorman, m.a., f.a.s.g. Vice-President, 
National Genealogical Society (1958-59), Librarian (since 
1959). Associate Editor, NGSQ. Editor, The Virginia 
Genealogist. Treasurer, American Society of Genealogists, 

David C. Duniway, a.b., a.m., Salem, Ore. State Archi- 
vist of Oregon. President, Marion Co. (Ore.) Historical 
Society. U. S. Delegate, International Congress on Archives, 
Florence, Italy, 1956. 

C(ecil) L'Estrange Ewen, f.a.s.g., Paignton, Devon, Eng- 
land. Author of History of Surnames of the British Isles. 
Died in 1949. His section on "British Surnames" (see Part 
5, Chapter III, Section A), was completed on his deathbed. 

Margaret Dickson Falley (Mrs. George F.), b.s., f.a.s.g., 
999 Michigan Ave., Evanston, 111. Contributing Editor, 
NGSQ. Lecturer, Institute of Genealogical Research, Wash- 
ington, D. C. Recognized as the leading American authority 
on genealogical research in Ireland. 

Sir Francis James Grant, k.c.v.o., c.v.o., ll.d., f.a.s.g., 
Edinburgh, Scotland. Lord Lyon King of Arms and Secre- 
tary of the Order of the Thistle, 1929-45. Author of The 
Manual of Heraldry, etc. Contributor to The Scots Peerage. 
Died in 1953. 

Martha Woodroof Hiden (Mrs. Philip Wallace), 
F.A.S.G., Newport News, Va. President of the Order of First 
Families of Virginia, and of other organizations. Author 
of books and articles on Virginia history and genealogy, 
Died in 1959. 


William J. Hoffman, m.mech.eng., f.g.b.s., f.a.s.g., La- 
plume, Pa. Contributing Editor, TAG. Compiler of An 
Armory of American Families of Dutch Descent (1933-41). 
Died in 1955. 

Winifred Lovering Holman, s.b., f.a.s.g., 275 Concord 
Ave., Lexington, Mass. Vice-President, American Society of 
Genealogists, 1957-59. Contributing Editor, TAG and NGSQ. 
Author and editor of numerous genealogical works. 

Donald Lines Jacobus, m.a., f.a.s.g., P. 0. Box 3032, West- 
ville Station, New Haven, Conn. Editor-in-Chief, TAG. 
Honorary Member, National Genealogical Society. Contrib- 
uting Editor, NGSQ. Honorary Director, New Haven Colony 
Historical Society. 

Amandus Johnson, a.b., a.m., ph.d., 400 Master St., Phila- 
delphia, 22, Pa. Founder and Director, American Swedish 
Historical Museum. Founder and President, New Sweden 
Historical Association. Knight Commander, Order of Vasa, 
and Knight, Order of the North Star (Sweden). 

Gerard Malchelosse, f.a.s.g., 5759 Ave. Durocher, Outre- 
mont, Montreal, P. Q., Canada. Past President, Bibliographi- 
cal Society of Canada. Author of numerous books and articles 
dealing with French-Canadian genealogy and history* 

G. Andrews Moriarty, a.b., a.m., ll.b., f.s.a., f.s.g., f.a.s.g., 
Ogunquit, Me. Vice-President, New England Historic Genea- 
logical Society and Chairman of its Committee on English and 
Foreign Research. Contributing Editor, NGSQ. Authority 
on English feudal genealogy. 

Milton Rubincam, f.a.s.g., f.n.g.s., 6303-20th Ave., W. 
Hyattsville, Md. Past President, National Genealogical Society 
and Pennsylvania Historical Junto. Editor, NGSQ. Contrib- 
uting Editor, TAG. Lecturer, Institute of Genealogical Re- 
search, Washington, D. C. 

Herbert F. Seversmith, b.s., m.a., ph.d., f.a.s.g., f.n.g.s., 
4708 Bradley Blvd., Chevy Chase, Md. Past President, Nation- 
al Genealogical Society. Contributing Editor, NGSQ. Com- 


piler of a monumental work on Long Island and Connecticut 
families, of which vol. 5 is in preparation. 

Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr., m.s., f.a.s.g., 923 Old Manoa 
Rd., Havertown, Pa. Secretary, American Society of Gene- 
alogists. Contributing Editor, TAG. 

Mary J. Sibley (Mrs. Henry O.), b.p.h.,, ph.d.., 
Syracuse, N. Y. Authority on Upstate New York genealogy. 
Died in Portland, Ore., several years ago. 

Jean Stephenson, j.d., m.p.l., ll.m., s.j.d., f.a.s.g., f.n.g.s., 
1228 Eye St., N. W., Washington 5, D. C. Formerly Editor, 
NGSQ, and Chairman, Genealogical Records Committee, 
N.S.D.A.R. Lecturer, Institute of Genealogical Research. 

Noel C. Stevenson, ll.b., f.a.s.g., Wasco, Calif. Contrib- 
uting Editor, TAG and NGSQ. Member, State Bar of Cali- 
fornia. Author, Search and Research (Revised Edition, 
1959). Editor: The Genealogical Reader (1958). 

James J. Talman, ph.d., London, Ont., Canada. Chief 
Librarian, University of Western Ontario. Past President, 
Canadian Historical Association and Ontario Historical 

Anthony R. Wagner, d.l.h., c.v.o., f.r.hist.s., f.s.a., 
F.s.G., f.a.s.g., London, England. Richmond Herald, College 
of Arms. Secretary, Most Noble Order of the Garter. Author 
of numerous books and articles on heraldry. 

Edward H. West, f.a.s.g., 802-4th St., Laurel, Md. Past 
President, National Genealogical Society. Author of books 
and articles on historical and genealogical subjects. 


The American Society of Genealogists was founded in New 
York City 27 December 1940, and was incorporated under the 
laws of the District of Columbia 30 March 1946. The Society's 
Constitution limits the number of Members, known as Fellows, to 
fifty, chosen "on the basis of the amount and quality of their 
published genealogical work." 


Following is the complete Roll of Fellows from the Society's 
inception to the present time, together with the offices held by 
them in the organization. The office of Treasurer was combined 
with that of Secretary from 1940 to 1952, but since 1953 they 
have been separate offices. The numbers before the names signify 
the order of the Fellows' election. The asterisk (*) denotes those 
who are deceased; a dagger (f ) denotes Fellows Emeriti. 

1. REV. DR. ARTHUR ADAMS, Boston, Mass., Founding 
Fellow, 1940. President, 1940-58. President Emeritus, 

2. JOHN INSLEY CODDINGTON, Bordentown, N. J., 
Founding Fellow, 1940. Secretary-Treasurer, 1940-41. 
Honorary President for Life, 1969. 

3. MEREDITH B. COLKET, JR., Cleveland, Ohio, Founding 
Fellow, 1940. Vice President, 1940-41. Secretary-Treasurer, 
1941-51. Honorary President for Life, 1969. 

4. DONALD LINES JACOBUS, New Haven, Conn.* 


6. DR. HAROLD BOWDITCH, Peterborough, N. H.* 

7. MILTON RUBINCAM, West Hyattsville, Md., Vice President, 
1946-49, 1959-61. Secretary -Treasurer, 1951-52. President, 

Secretary, 1953-57. 


10. WALTER GOODWIN DAVIS, Portland, Me., Vice President, 
1941-46, 1952-57. Secretary, 1957-58. President, 1958-61.* 

HOLMAN, Brookline, Mass.* 

12. DR. EARL GREGG SWEM, Williamsburg, Va.* 



14. DR. MARCELLUS D. A. R. VON REDLICH, Chicago, 111.* 

15. HARRY WRIGHT NEWMAN, Washington, D. C. Resigned. 

16. RICHARD LEBARON BOWEN, Rehoboth, Mass.* 

17. JOHN COX, JR., New York, N. Y.* 

Santa Barbara, Cal.* 

DODGE, Exeter, N. H., Vice President, 1957-59. 

20. MAJ. GEN. EDGAR ERSKINE HUME, Washington, D. C* 

21. CONKLIN MANN, New York, N. Y.* 

22. CLARENCE ALMON TORRE Y, Boston, Mass.* 

York, N.Y.* 

24. REV. CLAYTON TORRANCE, Richmond, Va.* 

25. REV. DR. GILBERT H. DOANE, Newport, R. I. 

Newport News, Va.* 

27. PROF. WILLIAM J. HOFFMAN, LaPlume, Pa.* 

28. WILLIAM HERBERT WOOD, New Haven, Conn.* 

29. HOMER T. BRAINERD, Amherst Mass.* 

30. MISS SYBIL NO YES, Saco, Me.* 

31. DR. HERBERT F. SEVERSMITH, Chevy Chase, Md.* 

Newport News, Va.* 

33. DR. GAIUS M. BRUMBAUGH, Washington, D. C* 

34. HIRAM E. DEATS, Flemington, N. J.* 

35. SAMUEL COPP WORTHEN, New York, N. Y.* 


37. DR. EDWIN JACQUET SELLERS, Philadelphia, Pa.* 

38. DR. JEAN STEPHENSON, Washington, D. C, Secretary, 

39. CAPT. JOHN BENNETT BODDIE, Mountain View, Cal.* 


41. FLOYD WILLS SYDNOR, Richmond, Va.t 

42. EDWARD H. WEST , Laurel, Md.* 

43. H. CLIFFORD CAMPION, JR., Swarthmore, Pa.* 


45. WALTER LEE SHEPPARD, JR., Havertown, Pa., Secretary, 
1958-61, 1966-67. Vice President, 1967-70. President, 1970-73. 

46. CYRIL L 'ESTRANGE EWEN, Paington, Devon, England.* 

47. ALFRED TREGO BUTLER, London, England.* 


48. SIR FRANCIS JAMES GRANT, Edinburgh, Scotland.* 

49. W. BLAKE METHENY, Philadelphia, Pa.f 


51. DR. JOHN GOODWIN HERNDON, Haverford, Pa., Vice 
President, 1949-52.* 

52. HAROLD MINOT PITMAN, Bronxville, N. Y., Vice 
President, 1963-64. President, 1964-67.* 

Va., Secretary-Treasurer, 1952-53. Treasurer, 1953-59. 


55. GERARD MALCHELOSSE, Montreal, P. Q., Canada.* 


57. ARTHUR SOPER WARDWELL, Brooklyn, N. Y.* 

58. LEWIS D. COOK Philadelphia, Pa. 


60. GEORGE McKENZIE ROBERTS, San Francisco, Cal. 


62. NOEL C. STEVENSON, Los Angeles, Cal. 

63. DR. GEORGE E. McCRACKEN, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Wilmette, 111., Vice President, 1961-63. 

65. SIR CHARLES TRAVIS CLAY, London, England. 

Ferschnitz, Austria.* 

67. GEOFFREY H. WHITE, London, England* 

Whitman, Mass., Vice President, 1964-65. 

69. DR. ROBERT H. MONTGOMERY, Cambridge, Mass.* 

70. GERALD JAMES PARSONS, Syracuse, N. Y. 

71. DR. RALPH DORNFELD OWEN, Springfield, Pa.f* 


73. JOHN FREDERICK DORMAN, Washington, D. C, Treasurer, 


75. DR. KENN STRYKER-RODDA, South Orange, N. J., Vice 
President, 1965-67. President, 1967-70. 

Philadelphia, Pa.* 

77. DR. ARCHIBALD F. BENNETT, Salt Lake City, Utah.* 



80. PAUL W. PRINDLE, Darien, Conn., Secretary, 1967-68. 
Treasurer, 1968- 


81. CHARLES W. FARNHAM, Providence, R.I. 

82. MISS RACHEL E. BARCLAY, Whitman, Mass. Assistant Sec- 
retary, 1972- 

83. DR. RAYMOND MARTIN BELL, Washington, Pa. 

84. MACLEAN W. McLEAN, Pittsburgh, Pa. 

85. DR. MALCOLM H. STERN, New York, N. Y., Treasurer, 
1966-68. Secretary, 1968-73; Vice President, 1973. 

86. GEORGE OLIN ZABRISKIE, Honolulu, Hawaii. 

87. DR. AMANDUS JOHNSON, Philadelphia, Pa.f* 

88. FRANCIS JAMES DALLETT, Villanova, Pa. 

Key West, Fla. Secretary, 1973. 

90. DR. CLAUDE WILLIS BARLOW, Worcester, Mass.* 

Va., Vice President, 1970-73; President 1973 

92. THE HON. FOLKS HUXFORD, Homerville, Ga. 



95. JOHN D. AUSTIN, Jr., Glens Falls, N.Y. 

96. WINSTON DE VILLE, New Orleans, La. 

97. DR. DAVID HUMISTON KELLEY, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 

98. MISS LUCY MARY KELLOGG, Brighton, Mich.* 

99. DR. KENNETH SCOTT, Douglaston, N.Y. 

100. DR. NEIL D. THOMPSON, New York, N.Y. 


102. ROBERT M. SHERMAN, Warwick, R.I. 

103. PETER WILSON COLDHAM, Surrey, England. 

104. RICHARD S. LACKEY, Forest, Miss.